NY Police Slowdown Turns Into A Petty Crime Crackdown
Police Slowdown Showed They Were Not Needed, Crackdown Shows They Are Abusive, Conclusion from Both Actions: There Are Too Many Police
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the NYPD’s slowdown is ending, and it appears that some cops are making up for lost time. We’ve received multiple tips from New Yorkers who say that in the past couple of days they’ve been issued summonses for the sort of “quality of life” offenses that the NYPD had all but stopped enforcing over the past two weeks.
John Zawadzinski was arrested on Saturday afternoon in SoHo by three plainclothes officers who spotted him affixing a small sticker (for the “Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team“) to the back of a crosswalk signal box. He was handcuffed and taken to the 5th Precinct Stationhouse and held for almost three hours while his arrest was processed.
“I had never been arrested in my life,” Zawadzinski says. “I have friends who are active and retired NYPD. I’m a supporter and friend of police. I was kind of shocked, but I understand the climate in the city now. They’ve got to get the numbers up; old man Bratton needs numbers, and unfortunately I was probably one of the first ones that got snagged in the numbers game.”
According to Zawadzinski, his friends on the force thought he was joking when he told them about the sticker arrest, but he says he’s not really surprised. “It’s like any other business; you don’t perform, you’re shown the door,” he tells us. “Bratton is banging stuff and it trickles down to every precinct.”
Zawadzinski says that while he was at the precinct, a detective asked for additional information about anyone selling drugs or guns, and if he cooperated “they would tell the DA” he had “a good attitude.” This is in line with the “Broken Windows” strategy of enforcement championed by NYPD Commissioner Bratton; suspects charged with minor offenses are often grilled for information about more serious crimes.
Zawadzinski was charged with possession of a graffiti instrument (the sticker, which is about two inches wide) and making graffiti. “The sticker’s still there,” he tells us. “They didn’t even take it down.”
We’re also receiving tips and seeing reports that traffic tickets are flying again.
One Upper West Side man tells us he was ticketed for an expired inspection sticker while legally parked on West 85th Street in Manhattan. And in Greenpoint, local resident Nora Woolley shares this story:
What follows is an account of what happened to me, my husband, and our dog in light of the NYPD’s catch-up blitz—what certainly represents a broken windows approach to “crime” at its most pathetic:
At 9:10 a.m. on a cold and windy Saturday (January 10th), my husband and I threw a tennis ball for our off-leash dog in the confines of a fenced-in asphalt slab bordering an industrial waste zone at the northernmost tip of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This area is considered a “park” even if it conjures a classic association of urban blight, and a familiar, questionable representation of tax dollars put toward public “green” space. It suffices to say that in our six years in this neighborhood, we have never seen anyone in this park. This morning was no exception, not a soul.
After several minutes of throwing the tennis ball, we made our way out of the “park.” As we clipped the leash back onto our dog, a cop car pulled up. Three officers exited the car and approached us.
“I hate to do this, my sergeant got a call, someone complained about the dog. There is supposed to be a football game here now and they can’t play until the dog is gone. License please. Ticket no more than $5-10.”
The cops retreated to the warmth of their car as we waited 10 minutes or so for them to run my husband’s license through their computer. Finally, they pulled the car toward us and one of the other cops exited and approached us, handing my husband his license and a pink slip of paper. It was a court summons for “disobeying park signs” (with no possibility of a guilty plea by mail) and an unspecified fine. No dogs allowed.
On a dare from me, my husband asked the officer if they were planning on sticking around for the football game.
“What football game?” the second officer replied.
“The one your partner referenced as the reason you are citing us for having our dog in the park,” my husband replied.
“Huh?” he shrugged as he rejoined his partners in the police car.
My husbands case is set for mid-March, when he is scheduled to be out of town working. I am not permitted to go as his proxy, only a lawyer may do that. Online it says that the fine is anywhere from $25-100.
Too many cops, too many wrong directives.
The apparent “summons catch-up blitz” came as officers were reportedly denied time off and meal breaks until they filled a summons quota to make up for the slowdown. At a press conference this afternoon, Commissioner Bratton announced that arrests and summonses are returning to “normal” levels.
If you become a statistic in the NYPD’s game of catch up, let us know.