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  • NYPD Temporarily Suspends Issuance of Press Passes

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    The media at an NYPD press conference (photo: @NYPDNews)


    Members of the news media wanting to get a new NYPD press badge will have to make do without until further notice.

    The department’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI), which handles the issuance of the credentials, has not been accepting applications for new cards for weeks, and has not definitively said when it will begin taking appointments again. The passes are designed to allow reporters to cross police lines and enter certain police-protected events and buildings.

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  • City Makes Slow Progress in Effort to Prevent Wrongful Convictions

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    City Council Member Rory Lancman (photo: Micah Institute)


    In 2016, 159 people were exonerated in the United States after being wrongfully convicted for a crime they did not commit, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Fourteen of those wrongful convictions took place in New York, the

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  • Bill de Blasio’s Police Accountability Problem

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign account recently posted a Twitter message touting the NYPD’s neighborhood policing initiative. “New York City is proving to the rest of the country that respectful, compassionate neighborhood policing drives down crime & makes us safer,” the tweet from @BilldeBlasio read.

    In a response symbolic of a problem de Blasio is facing as he heads into his re-election year, Lumumba

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  • City Council to Examine NYPD Oversight Board

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    CCRB Chair Maya Wiley & Mayor de Blasio in 2014 (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)


    The Civilian Complaint Review Board, a key provider of oversight of police conduct in New York City will be subject to oversight itself at a Friday hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety. It will be the first of its kind during the current administration wherein the CCRB is evaluated by the Council outside of the annual budget process. The hearing comes amid controversy over NYPD transparency with regard to officer

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  • Eleanor Bumpurs, Deborah Danner, and Finally Fixing Our Emergency Response

    NYPD lights officer car

    (photo: @NYPDnews)


    Heartbreak and outrage at another deadly police shooting - this time concerning Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old woman with a psychiatric disability. Police, responding to a call about an "emotionally disturbed person," entered her apartment and when the woman became agitated and combative, an NYPD Sergeant killed her.

    It is all achingly familiar. In 1984, Eleanor Bumpurs, who was also a disabled elderly black woman in the Bronx, was killed with twin shotgun blasts in similar circumstances.

    In the wake of Bumpurs'

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  • Crime Under Mayor De Blasio, The Long View

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    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD officials (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This September was the safest September in the more than two decades that the NYPD has been keeping statistics of the seven major felonies through its CompStat system.

    Announcing that fact on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD officials, including new Commissioner James O’Neill, again touted crime numbers largely heading in the right direction.

    The press conference came one week after the first Presidential debate between

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  • Council to Hear Bill Mandating Publication of NYPD Patrol Guide

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    City Council Member Garodnick, in NYPD hat, & colleagues (photo: William Alatriste)


    A bill introduced by City Council Member Dan Garodnick to require the NYPD to publish its patrol guide online will be heard for the first time by the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety next week. The hearing, set for Thursday, September 15, follows shortly on the recent controversy over the Right to Know Act, a package of police reform legislation that Council Speaker Melissa

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  • Increase in Rape Reports Given Little Attention Amid Celebration of Crime Drops

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    Mayor de Blasio at a press briefing (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    “You’re going to hear some numbers that are striking,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio as he began an August 4 press conference on the city’s latest crime statistics. “2016 saw the fewest shootings, the fewest robberies, the fewest burglaries, the fewest

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  • Procedural Move Could Lead to Vote on Right to Know Act

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    A Right to Know Act rally


    Last week, City Council Members Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso sent out a joint statement in which they addressed the ramifications of the impending retirement of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. “With the departure of William Bratton,” the statement reads, “we are reminded that administrative agreements are every bit as short-lived as commissioners themselves, coming and going in the moments we least expect.”

    The Council members were referring to an agreement between

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  • Working with The Next Police Commissioner

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    City Council Member Jumaane Williams, the author (photo: Jeff Reed)


    Given where we are in the policing discussion in this city and country, and the acknowledgement of how deeply systemic the problems lie, focusing on the departure or hiring of any one Commissioner has always simplified a complex problem. I have never known a time when people were not calling for the removal of an NYPD Commissioner as the solution to policing issues in our city.

    It was right for many of us to express concerns when Commissioner Bill Bratton was chosen,

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  • Bratton Departure Comes with Silver Lining for De Blasio

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    Bratton, O'Neill, de Blasio at City Hall (photo: Ben Max)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t want Bill Bratton to leave his post as NYPD Commissioner, but his departure comes with a thick silver lining. And just because de Blasio would rather Bratton stay than go doesn’t mean the mayor doesn’t see it.

    As de Blasio stood smiling and shaking the hand of soon-to-be Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill on Tuesday at City Hall, the mayor may have exhaled an inaudible sigh of relief. While we don’t yet know what kind of

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  • Change of Commissioner Spotlights De Blasio’s Record on Police Reform

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    photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office


    Many believe that the biggest responsibility of the Mayor of New York City is to keep people safe and Bill de Blasio has largely done that, in no small part by letting his lightning-rod police commissioner, Bill Bratton, call the shots on public safety policy. The mayor has focused on pre-kindergarten and affordable housing while Bratton has governed the streets, helping bring crime down to historic lows. At the same time, Bratton has led an evolution of sorts

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  • Bill Bratton Announces Retirement from NYPD, to be Replaced by James O'Neill

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    De Blasio, Bratton, O'Neill, & Gomez (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    Bill Bratton, commissioner of the New York Police Department, announced his retirement from the NYPD on Tuesday, ushering in new leadership at the department he has shaped over the course of several decades. At a City Hall press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Bratton will be replaced by Chief of Department James O’Neill, who has been a long-time member of the NYPD, rising through its ranks to now fill

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  • Right to Know Act is Progress We Need Now

    Jason Salmon

    The author, center


    I’m lying awake at 4 a.m. wondering if our calls for justice will ever be answered. The evening before I was marching in midtown, protesting the tragic killing of Alton Sterling. It’s been 17 months since the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and two years since Eric Garner’s death by suffocation at the hands of police. Even with cell phone cameras making this deadly reality no longer something we can ignore, justice remains elusive.

    Lying awake, scrolling through Instagram, I noticed a lot of people liking and re-

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  • Even with Crime Low, De Blasio and Police Union 'Worlds Apart'

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    Mayor de Blasio speaks at NYPD graduation (Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Last month, contract negotiations between City Hall and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file police officers, again reached a standstill.

    On June 28, the PBA filed a Declaration of Impasse with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) asking it to appoint a mediator in the negotiations over a contract that goes back to 2012. The union, which

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  • De Blasio and The Complications of Vetting Campaign Donors

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    Mayor de Blasio, 2014 (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office) 


    In the early stages of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s run for office in 2013, thousands of small donations flooded in but big donors were rare. “I will admit to you there was a time early in the mayoral campaign when a maximum donation was a very unusual thing in our campaign, so it certainly got attention then,” the mayor said, at a June 15 news conference.

    As the situation changed and bigger donations became more “typical,” the mayor said his campaign was

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  • NYPD Expands Neighborhood Policing Program

     

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    An NYPD patrol car in Downtown Manhattan (Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    The New York Police Department’s program to reimagine policing with a focus on creating community relationships expanded to six additional precincts and one more housing Police Service Area (PSA) last week, bringing the total to 26 precincts and six PSAs now served by the new model. Gotham Gazette visited the 79th Precinct in Western Bedford-Stuyvesant on Monday, July 27, to see the rollout of the program and to speak with residents about their reaction to the new policing

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  • Without Key Stakeholders, Administration Supports Council Police Misconduct Bill

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    Council Member Jumaane Williams (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations heard a bill on Tuesday, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, which would require centralized reporting of data on police misconduct from multiple agencies to identify systemic problems and help create an early intervention system for the NYPD. To the disappointment of Williams and others, though, key stakeholders to be affected by the bill and instrumental in implementing it if it becomes law, were not

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  • Council to Hear One of Two Police Accountability Bills

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    photo via @NYPDNews


    NOTE: this article was originally published June 7, but the hearing discussed was postponed to June 28; it has been edited to refllect the new date and other recent news

    Following on the heels of passing the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which diverts the prosecution of a number of low-level nonviolent offenses to civil rather than criminal avenues, the City Council will hear a bill on Tuesday that also addresses criminal justice reform, but this time by targeting bad actors within

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  • Demanding Justice is Not a 'War on Cops'

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    photo: Sofie Hecht, Gotham Gazette


    The Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald has a new book out Tuesday that claims that there is a “War on Cops,” led by the Black Lives Matter movement and anyone else who ever called for reductions in excessive, heavy-handed, or brutal policing.

    Mac Donald’s basic point is that the police merely take action in response to actual levels of crime and disorder and that by doing so they save lives. Anyone who accuses them of racist motivations or outcomes misses the fact that

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  • City Council Passes Criminal Justice Reform Act

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    NYPD Commissioner Bratton with officers (photo: @CommissBratton)


    The City Council voted on Wednesday to pass the Criminal Justice Reform Act, a package of eight bills largely aimed at diverting low-level nonviolent offenses from criminal to civil matters.

    Offenses such as public urination, littering, drinking alcohol in public, and being in a park after hours are currently enforced as criminal misdemeanors and prosecuted in criminal courts, at times resulting in permanent criminal records for offenders. Under these bills, spearheaded by Council

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  • City Council to Pass Reforms Aimed at Broken Windows Policing

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    City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alariste)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has a year and a half left on the job and is clearly focused on making criminal justice reform a centerpiece of her legacy. While a commission formed by the speaker explores other changes to the city’s criminal justice system and the idea of closing the notorious Rikers Island jail complex, the City Council on Wednesday will vote on a package of bills that will in large part establish civil rather than criminal punishment for low-level nonviolent offenses and

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  • NYPD 'Peace Dividend' Reveals Truth About Unnecessary Arrests

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    Commissioner Bratton and others (photo via @NYPDnews)


    Last May, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton issued a 41-page report extolling the virtues of Broken Windows and quality-of-life policing, and promoted what he termed a “peace dividend” of “nearly a million fewer enforcement contacts like arrests, summonses, and reasonable-suspicion stops when compared to their respective highs.” He explained further in a letter to City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito: “there has been a drastic reduction in enforcement contacts between police and citizens, a benefit of lower

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  • Could a Doorman Have Saved Akai Gurley’s Life?

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    A NYCHA building entrance (photo via NYCHA on flickr)


    Protests recently broke out in response to the sentencing of former police officer Peter Liang to five years of community service for the killing of Akai Gurley. Officer Liang’s criminal behavior in a stairwell in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses might have been less professional than some of his more experienced peers, but he was hardly an extreme outlier. He wasn’t even the first officer to shoot a totally innocent person by mistake during a vertical patrol. In 1994, thirteen-year-old ...

  • The Adversarial Justice Court

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    Back in the early 1990s, there was a bar association forum devoted to the nascent and growing problem-solving court movement. After I raised some questions about the “we’re all in this together” premise of the courts, one of the advocates pointedly asked me, “Do you really believe that the adversarial Criminal Court is working?” “I couldn’t say,” I replied. “I’ve yet to see an adversarial court.” That remains the case today.

    Even though the nation’s Criminal Courts since their inception have been described as assembly lines processing defendants through quick and dirty guilty pleas,

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