NYPD Work Slowdown Results in Massive Drop in Arrests

Human Rights

There has been a dramatic drop in arrests in New York City after the police union leaders called for an NYPD work “slowdown.” According to the New York Post, arrests are down 66% overall, drug arrests are down by 84%, and summons and tickets for minor offenses are down by a mind-blowing 94% since last year.

Ironically, protesters and other critics of the NYPD have called for less low-level policing. The end of "stop-and-frisk" policing by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton last year was in response to many of these critics. However, Bratton is a proponent of "broken windows" policing, the practice of cracking down on minor offenses based on the theory that they create visible signs of public disorder that encourage more serious crimes.

Community and minority groups argue that broken-windows policing tends to be racially biased, referring to it as "the same old stop-and-frisk."

In the wake of the shootings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on December 20, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the police unions called for the slowdown, which the Post now equates to a work stoppage. The unions are upset over what they perceive to be anti-police rhetoric by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the slowdown is said to be an organized protest. It began the week beginning with December 22, two days after the Ramos and Liu shooting. The Post obtained the figures and compared that week to the corresponding week from a year ago.

This afternoon, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton are holding an emergency summit with the leaders of New York’s five police unions to try to mend a rift between the city’s administration and police rank-and file.

The PBA and the unions have told their members that their safety comes first and not to make an arrests unless they are “absolutely necessary.” Police sources have told the Post that it is these safety measures that are behind the plummet in low-level policing activity. However, the same sources have told the Post that some cops are staging their own work slowdowns as a form of protest over de Blasio’s response to a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island.

Immediately after the Ramos and Liu killings, PBA president Patrick Lynch politicized their deaths and pointed blame in the direction of Mayor de Blasio among others. 

“There’s blood on many hands tonight: those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day," said Lynch. "That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall — in the office of the mayor.” 

Lynch, who says the NYPD is now a "wartime police department" who will "act accordingly" had also called on rank-and-file to sign an emotionally manipulative letter that would ban de Blasio from the funerals. 

Since Lynch's tirade against De Blasio, the Mayor has faced open hostility from some NYPD police officers and their unions. On Saturday, a cordon of officers standing outside Christ Tabernacle Church turned their backs to the church as de Blasio spoke at the Ramos funeral. The next day, Police Commissioner Bratton denounced the protest of rank-and-file officers, saying that it was inappropriate and highly politicized the funeral.

“This is a mayor who cares very deeply about New York police officers, cares very deeply about the divide in the city and is working hard to heal that divide,” Bratton said on CBS This Morning on Sunday.

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