NYPD’s ‘broken windows policing’ ripped for high number of minority arrests
Far too many minorities continue to get arrested as part of the NYPD’s emphasis on broken windows policing, an advocacy group charged Monday.
The Police Reform Organizing Project said that of the 1,612 arraignments attended in every borough but Staten Island during more than six months ending last Aug. 2, 1,438, or 89%, involved blacks or Hispanics.
Robert Gangi, head of PROP, said the statistics mirror those found in previous PROP reports and reflect the difference in how minorities are treated compared to whites.
Gangi, who railed against broken windows policing — enforcing low-level offenses under the theory that it can prevent more serious crimes — during a failed mayoral run in 2017, said officers are more likely to let off a white suspect with a warning, while minorities are more likely to get arrested or at least receive a summons.
“Cops have told me that in precincts that serve white communities they either have a very low quota or no quota, while in precincts of color there’s a quota,” Gangi said.
“One cop told me if you’re assigned to those precincts your first question is, ‘What’s the number?'”
The most common charges for the arraignments attended by PROP were misdemeanor marijuana possession, driving with a suspended license, misdemeanor assault, petty larceny and theft of service, which typically involves fare evasion.
The NYPD in February told a City Council hearing that its marijuana enforcement is driven by 911 and 311 calls.
But its own data refutes that claim — of the five neighborhoods with the most marijuana possession arrests in 2016 only one ranked in the top five for calls complaining about the problem.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill later said police receive complaints in other forms and that he himself attended a southeast Queens community meeting after which a group of homeowners told him marijuana enforcement needs to continue.
The NYPD had no comment Monday, though in the past it has derided Gangi’s methodology and the fact that PROP is run out of his home.
Gangi laughed at that criticism and said the reports sometimes involve arrest data the state gets from the NYPD.
“That’s what you do — you attack the messenger as a way to discredit what he or she is saying,” Gangi said.
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