Gotham Gazette

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NYPD

NYPD

  • Dermot Shea's Rocky First Year as NYPD Commissioner

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    Mayo de Blasio & NYPD Commissioner Shea (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This past Wednesday, December 2, marked one year since Dermot Shea was sworn in as the 44th commissioner of the New York Police Department, the third commissioner to serve in the role under Mayor Bill de Blasio. Shea’s first year in the top-cop job has been tumultuous and punctuated with controversy; a trial by fire in unprecedented times, and he often came up short, as judged by critics on both his left and his right and those simply frustrated by police brutality and rising

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  • City Identifies Potential Sites to Relocate Manhattan NYPD Tow Pound, Requests State Waiver on Fines

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    As a state-imposed deadline approaches for relocating a massive NYPD tow pound at Pier 76 in Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has requested the state waive fines that would be imposed if it fails to complete the task while the city continues to look at alternate sites for towing operations in the borough. The city may even have found a target Manhattan site owned by the state.

    In the state budget this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through a provision that requires the NYPD to vacate its 250,000-square-foot tow

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  • More Youth-Police Partnership is Not NYPD Reform, It’s Dangerous

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    The mayor and top NYPD officials at a community center (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Over the last several weeks, the New York City Police Department convened and broadcasted eight “police reform and reinvention listening sessions” in response to Governor Cuomo’s June Executive Order 203 requiring local police agencies to develop a plan that “reinvents and modernizes police strategies.” These sessions were a sham.

    Arriving on the heels of the Defund NYPD movement, the City is choosing what, when, and how to listen. The call to “Defund the NYPD,” for example,

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Jennifer Jones Austin on Police and Prison Reform

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    Jennifer Jones Austin at NYPD headquarters (photo: @FPWA)


    October 21, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Jennifer Jones Austin on Police and Prison Reform

    Jennifer Jones Austin, longtime CEO of FPWA, joined the show to discuss FPWA's anti-poverty work and her roles on an NYPD reform commission and as chair of the New York City Board of Correction.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • The NYPD is Undermining Our Ability to Hold Them Accountable. The Mayor Must Act

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    NYPD Commissioner Shea, Mayor de Blasio, other police officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    As an international non-governmental organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports on human rights abuses in every part of the world. Recently, its work brought it to New York City and more specifically, the Bronx. In a newly released report, HRW documented rampant police violence during a summer protest against police brutality, revealing that the NYPD’s

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  • What We Mean by Defund The Police

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    NYPD officers at a precinct (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    While there's widespread agreement today about the need to change or improve policing in our country, we fall far short of a consensus about the particular reforms needed. Should the changes leave the basic institutions of policing intact or should they be far-reaching? Should we dismantle current law enforcement structures and replace them with new entities? Or more generously fund existing agencies for promoting safety and justice?

    Advocates' analysis is that abusive practices, from

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  • Long-Promised Study of De Blasio's Neighborhood Policing Program Delayed Into His Final Months In Office

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    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD officers (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    An external study of the NYPD’s neighborhood policing program, which Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD leadership have promised for years, has been delayed because of the pandemic, according to the company conducting the review. The results of the study, which is supposed to provide empirical support for one of de Blasio’s signature initiatives that he regularly credits for what he says are improved police-community relations, were originally due in mid-2021 and it’s

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  • New York Must Replace Police as Responders to People in Mental Health Crisis

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    NYPD response (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    The police must stop killing people of color. The police must stop killing people experiencing mental health crises. The police must stop killing people of color experiencing mental health crises. And the police must stop the cover-ups. 

    Daniel Prude, a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis, should never have been asphyxiated in the middle of the street on a snowy night, naked, begging and praying for help, held down and “hooded” with a bag over his head by seven Rochester police officers.

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  • 'This is Not a New Conversation': Southeast Brooklyn Leaders Discuss Causes and Casualties of Rising Gun Violence

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    State Senator Roxanne Persaud (photo: @SenatorPersaud)


    Coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic devastation, crime, particularly gun violence, has increased across New York City, a trend that began even before the coronavirus outbreak but has worsened since. The spike in shootings and murders has been particularly large in sections of Brooklyn. The 19th State Senate District, covering southeastern parts of the borough, including Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, and

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  • Renewed Scrutiny of Police Misconduct Includes Reexamination of Qualified Immunity for Officers

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    New NYPD officers are sworn in (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement, the Qualified Immunity Doctrine has come under increased scrutiny from activists and elected officials. Simply put, when applied to police officers, qualified immunity means that officers can rarely be subject to civil lawsuits in their individual capacities over allegations of excessive force, brutality, or other misconduct while on the job. In other words, they

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  • Jury Still Out in Several Investigations of NYPD's Protest Policing

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    NYPD officers; the department remains under multiple investigations (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) and Law Department have missed the August 31 benchmark set by Mayor Bill de Blasio to submit a final report in their joint investigation into the NYPD's response to summer protests that broke out in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

    Officers' frequently violent engagement with demonstrators marching against police racism and brutality led to hundreds of allegations

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  • After Big Dip, City Jail Population Creeps Back Up

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    Mayor de Blasio and top NYPD officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In mid-April, Mayor Bill de Blasio took a victory lap as the city’s daily jail population fell below 4,000 for the first time in nearly 75 years. It was a marked drop of almost 1,500 since the city went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, and was a result of several factors, including measures the mayor took to release hundreds of detainees whose health was at risk. But the jail population has slowly begun to increase, reaching 4,160 on September 1, as the

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  • Under New Body Camera Policy, NYPD Still Controls the Video and the Narrative

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    Mayor de Blasio reviews NYPD video (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new policy for automatically publishing body camera footage within 30 days when police officers kill or seriously injure someone. The step, he said, would give the public more assurances that they would actually see video captured in serious cases of police force, an implicit but often unrealized aim of the transparency program. But more than two months since the policy was implemented, old questions remain about who controls what footage is

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  • How Do Black Lawmakers and Activists View ‘Defunding the NYPD’? It’s Complicated

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    Protesters demanded a $1 billion cut to the NYPD budget (photo: @VOCALNewYork)


    The New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio crafted an $88.2 billion budget for the current fiscal year in what was one of the most contentious budget negotiations in years, coming amid a pandemic-caused recession and a resurgent racial justice movement that sought to “Defund the NYPD” and redirect some of its massive resources to social services in communities of color. But the budget process showed major divisions in the City Council, where several of the notable ‘yes’ votes on the

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  • As Gun Violence Increases, So Does Disagreement Over De Blasio's Response

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


    As New York City continues to see an increase in gun violence, concentrated largely in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police department have gone with a familiar playbook of shifting resources to hot spots, holding gun buy-backs, and coordinating with community groups that seek to prevent shootings in vulnerable neighborhoods. But as shootings and murders have jumped by especially large numbers amid the pandemic, its resulting mass unemployment, and a

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  • Stop Living in Fear of the ‘80s Crime Wave — It was an Aberration and It’s Not Coming Back

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    Mayor de Blasio and police officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Stephen Sigmund recently wrote an op-ed published by Gotham Gazette calling on New York’s young progressive activists to tread carefully in their pursuit of radical transformation or abolition of the NYPD, lest these reforms bring forth a repeat of the era of mass violent crime and urban decay that they are a bit too young to remember. I was glad to read this piece, because while I vehemently disagree with its

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  • New York Should Amend the Law Requiring Police Disciplinary Cases Be Tried Within the Police Department

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    NYPD officers (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the Citizens Union Foundation community in Gotham

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  • 11 Keys to Make Policing Work

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    Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the Citizens Union Foundation

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  • The Path to Better Policing and Safer Communities in Brooklyn and Beyond

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    Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, center, is one of the authors (photo: @BrooklynDA)


    Brooklyn is at a turning point for public safety and criminal justice reform. Through hard work, creativity, and trial and error, both law enforcement and citizen-powered organizations like East Brooklyn Congregations have achieved a sustained, historic drop in crime—but this year has seen troubling shifts. The recent spike in shootings and homicides – coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis – has thrown people

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  • 'A Very Pathetic Response': Charles and Inez Barron on Protest, Police Reform and Radical, Black-Led Politics

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    Charles, left, & Inez Barron, right, at a ceremony with the Mayor & others (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Anything short of a revolution won’t satisfy Charles and Inez Barron, the married Brooklynites who hold seats in the State Assembly and City Council, respectively, and the police reforms and city budget passed in the wake of recent widespread Black Lives Matter protests serve merely as a distraction to their radical idea of Black-led politics. 

    Assemblymember Charles Barron and City Council Member Inez Barron, both Democrats, have a

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  • Supporting Law Enforcement and Reforming the NYPD are Not Mutually Exclusive — I Know From Experience

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    Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD in focus (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    When I joined the NYPD in 2013, I was an unlikely candidate for law enforcement.  Nearly a decade earlier, during the 2004 Republican National Convention, I was a passerby arrested at a protest in Union Square. At the invitation of the New York Civil Liberties Union, I joined a class action lawsuit against the City related to those widespread arrests. Then, for several years after graduating from Harvard Law, I worked at a law firm and volunteered as a board member at the Bronx Defenders, a

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  • Removing NYPD from Homeless Outreach is a Long-Overdue Positive Step; Here’s What Must Come Next

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    Mayor de Blasio with homeless outreach (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the city gradually reopens, we’ve seen many homeless New Yorkers kicked off the subways without being offered a safe, private alternative place to sleep. In some recent cases, we have seen police officers use unacceptable violence to drag homeless New Yorkers off the train. Fortunately, after repeated calls from homeless New Yorkers and advocates,

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  • De Blasio Critical of Controversial NYPD Arrest of Protestor; Shea's Stance Unclear

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


    Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the tactics and the timing of the police officers who dragged a protester alleged to have damaged several police cameras into an unmarked van on Tuesday. But the mayor did not say Thursday whether his police commissioner, Dermot Shea, felt the same way despite reporting having had two separate conversations on the subject.

    In an incident that was caught on camera and quickly went viral Tuesday evening, plainclothes officers leapt out of a

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  • Police and Protest: 1992 and Today

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    NYPD officers (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    On September 16, 1992, roughly 10,000 demonstrators filled City Hall Park in a protest over police accountability. Marching around the park with banners and signs, they expressed their anger at New York City Mayor David Dinkins. After less than an hour, the protesters broke through the barricades around the park, storming the steps of City Hall itself, while another group of protesters filled Murray Street to listen to speakers who urged on the crowd.

    A short while later, approximately 2,000 protesters

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  • Little Support for De Blasio's Claim that Court Shutdown is Driving Gun Violence Surge

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    De Blasio and Shea discuss public safety (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea are marooned on an island with few substantive details to sustain their claim that one of the biggest drivers of New York City's recent increase in gun violence is a pandemic-stalled court system.

    The two have repeatedly offered largely unsupported claims that the coronavirus-related suspension of grand juries and a slow-down in gun offense prosecutions has made the courts a major contributor to the surge in shootings throughout the

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