For three weeks now, the nation’s largest police force appears to have launched a major work slowdown*. In New York City, police union officials deny an organized action but there’s no denying statistics showing that arrests for low-level offenses and parking and traffic tickets are way down. During the first week of 2015 and in a city of 8 million, NYPD arrested three people for turnstile jumping, compared to 400 during the same week in 2014. More than 16,000 parking summonses were handed out in early 2014; a little over 1,000 were handed out over the same week this year—at a loss of about $10 million-a-week in city revenue. And courts are less busy, too, the Daily News reports, as misdemeanor arraignments are also down.
While commentators parse its implications, the apparent work slowdown comes after December’s brazen daylight ambush of two Brooklyn officers, which cracked open a subterranean rift between officers and mayor Bill de Blasio. And perhaps unintentionally, the NYPD’s work slowdown is also answering protesters and many city residents’ calls to either end or rein in “broken windows” policing. So how’re those most affected reacting to the latest trend in policing? The Marshall Project’s Eli Hager went to Brooklyn’s Marcy projects to find out. One resident, 28-year-old Devaughn Rozier says:
“You normally see they’d be posted up on Marcy and Floyd, Marcy and Stockton, Marcy and Myrtle; they’d be posting up on all these corners,” he says, sizing up a nearby group of high school boys, the same way he says the police eye him and his friends. “They’d be up on the roofs of the projects, in groups of three. They’d be saying the probable cause for searching me and running my ID was I lived in a building with drug trafficking going on in it, even though that building has, like, 5,000 people staying there.”
“Now,” he says, smiling, “that’s free land.”
Read more at TMP.
*A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that NYPD officers have gone “on strike.” There’s no indication of a labor walkout or full work stoppage.