In New York City, over the past decade, cops made 55,000 arrests where the top charge was resisting arrest, according to data from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. That means the misdemeanor or infraction cops originally pursued was less serious than what happened during the arrest. Special felony assault charges for people accused of injuring a cop or other public safety worker. Those are the top charges in more than 1,300 cases each year. But disposition data shows the charges rarely hold up in court. Attorneys said that’s because in many cases it’s the citizen who was hurt, but cops add the assault charge to justify their use of force. http://www.wnyc.org/story/when-broken-windows-leads-busted-heads/
Yesterday I talked about Police using excessive force and in many cases escalating minor infractions which ultimately leads to a violent arrests. As I indicated yesterday
from my experience it is the attitude of police officers which largely leads
to a confrontation between police and citizen. Police officers do not have to turn their backs on small offences. It is important to pursue minor offences, if left unchecked minor offences do lead to larger crimes. Police do not need to have their hands tied, they simply have to exercise better judgement with the powers they are given. It is important that cops realize the powers they have are given to them by citizens.
New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio came to office vowing to improve Police community relations. His Police Commissioner William Bratton who served under Rudolph Giuliani, under whose Administration Police pretty much did what they wanted to minorities , said :
We will continue to aggressively pursue quality of life offenses. But there could be other ways to handle people accused of such crimes. “If it requires arrest, fine. But if it only requires an admonition — ‘Move along, you can’t do that.’ — Well, I want to make sure our officers understand that they’re given great powers of discretion”.
Bratton’s comments are a good start, though I could have done without the word aggressively . Not every cop understands that aggressively going after minor offences
doesn’t necessarily mean being aggressive with members of the public. It’s important Precinct and shift Commanders understands this.
In the past, some Commanders have pressured officers to be aggressive. Many officers feel the pressure and are sometimes offended, yet they toe the line. Those who speak out are branded liars and trouble makers.
Experience taught me, if someone offends they will most likely respond positively to an officer who respectfully points out the infraction and gives the person a warning. Conversely, people are offended when cops are rude and aggressive to them even though they may have committed an offence, they do not take kindly to being spoken down to. If an officer feels abused by an offender he tries to give a warning to, then an arrest is in order. Police officers must be reminded and should remind themselves, when someone offend they offend against the state and not the officer. Adopting that mentality prevents officers from personalizing things . Personalizing what an offender does leads to confrontation.
All of this is premised however, on the notion that police departments want to eliminate or reduce confrontation with members of the public. From all indications there is no evidence in support of that theory. As I pointed out yesterday several states have actually passed new laws allowing cops to arrest citizens who have committed no crime except to videotape police actions against other members of the public. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious that these new laws gives cops the say-so whether someone can videotape their actions. Every citizen plugged in should be terrified that their rights are being abrogated by those they elect to look out for their interest. The question remains as always, “in whose interest are these tyrannical laws being implemented”?
The answer may be simpler than you think.