[New York: Community Announcement]
On Friday April 11th New Yorkers Against Bratton will host a community report and speak out marking the first 100 days of the second Bill Bratton tenure at the NYPD.
We will be joined by activists and New Yorkers affected by Bratton’s most recent policing tactics as we gather outside of 1 Police Plaza at 5:00pm to discuss the crackdown on low level crimes in public transportation systems, attempts at coordinated sweeps of homeless New Yorkers as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative.
Bratton’s Criminalization of the Homeless: The death of homeless veteran Jerome Murdough in his Rikers cell last month after being arrested for sleeping in a public housing staircase raises serious concerns about what Bratton’s “collaborative policing” actually means for vulnerable New Yorkers.
The criminalization of the homeless and a propensity to arrest people for low-level crimes is a trademark of Bratton and of “Broken Windows” theory. Bratton announced homeless sweeps in February but cancelled after homeless advocates and activists mobilized.
His homeless crackdowns in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles, as well as the outcry from area activists and legal organizations, were rarely mentioned in his recent return to New York. What does his approach today mean for New York City?
Bratton’s Police Crackdown in Public Transportation Systems: The increase of arrests of panhandlers, acrobats and Mexican women selling “churros” in the subway system is classic Bratton. This tactic mirrors a crackdown that many have seen with regards to MTA buses, most evident in a recent incident involving a young black man arrested in the Bronx after being pulled off the bus by the NYPD.
While Bratton touts official drops in Stop and Frisks, a crackdown on immigrants, the poor and young people of color on subways and buses parallel the spirit –if not the exact policy– of racial profiling that a majority of New York rejected in both opinion polls and City-wide elections.
Bratton and De Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative: After an incident in January involving an elderly Asian man left bloodied after being arrested for jaywalking, there are serious questions about what this broad strategy will mean for everyday New Yorkers.
Expanding the power of police to now target New Yorkers for minor traffic offenses ignores the abuses of power revealed during the campaign to reform the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy. George Kelling, influential author and consultant to Bratton, has already linked Vision Zero with the “Broken Windows” theory that both and Bratton helped popularize.