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Heather Mac Donald
De-policing New York « Back to Story

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what happens when the cops stop doing anything because they are tired of all this? The public will bitch because "damn cops aint doing nothing"
This is obfuscation and changing the subject. There are lots of ways to get kids off the stoop, or out of the middle of the street, without shooting them. Three are lots of ways of calming an enraged citizen without choking him to death. And if these were such good arrests, how come they all fall apart in court, if then even get that far? Even Wilson and Kelling said that arrest should be the last resort, but in NYC and elsewhere, it's the first. And race? Look at a map of where these laws are enforced, where the arrests take place. You mean there's no disorder in Dumbo? Chelsea?
The cops aren't hurting the community, the drugs have for the past 50+ years since the Beatles came out with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and the Motown acts made illicit drug use so prominent in the ghetto community now acceptable to everyone. And why not? Weren't the siren songs of rock 'n roll and Motown seducing us all into fornicating animals? Eric Burton had that title right. Their Satanic Majesty's Request album by the Stones (hey, let's all get stoned) and all the almost innumerable escapes into fantasy land with the dissolution and dissipation of religion, turning it into a mockery, and morality become not freedom, but LICENSE to do what we wanted how we wanted to whom we wanted. Now the video games and internet porn have turned grown men into noxious animals, the economy can barely find a soul who actually wants to work, and complaints against the one abiding discipline of police work is just TOO caustic to our craven, pathetic, satanically seduced natures to even care what the next day will bring, so long as we can forget today. Is that all there is? Is that all there is? If that's all there is, my friends, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze, drugs, condoms and have a ball ... if that's all there is?

And Islam continues its expansion into the very heights of government, literally taking over the CIA, and we are too stoned to even care, aren't we?

Great, so let's keep on knocking the cops, who are the front line of all the protection we need, yet are coming up close and personal with all the demonic forces infesting the criminals and ne'er-do-wells incapable of feeding their issue let alone themselves. The cops need Catholic spiritual armor, but how few even realize what they’re dealing with, or the supernatural powers unleashed from Hell which are forcing them into social compromise. So let’s just see how further and further down the road to chaos and Islamic overthrow our noxious liberal inclinations will bring us daily. Obama has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, and all the other leaders are so cowed into obedience to Almighty Rationalizations that who’s left to determine what Truth is?
From the Daily News: "Nearly all of the cases cite false arrest for charges that ended up getting tossed or sealed — ranging from people collared for their own prescription drugs, to haphazard raids that allegedly swept up innocents and ruined lives.

“There’s a culture in Staten Island, and particularly this precinct, where you break the rules and serve your own interest and don’t have to worry about getting into any kind of trouble,” said lawyer Brett Klein, who’s filed dozens of lawsuits against officers in the borough. “A lot of officers live there, and they’re more isolated from the other boroughs and more off the radar.”

The 120th Precinct also has the highest crime rate in the borough, the most use of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics in the borough, and is a leader in the number of substantiated police misconduct allegations to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The precinct is tied for 11th place in substantiated complaints that occurred between 2009 and 2013, even though it ranks 33rd in population citywide, city records show. And of the 137 cases substantiated citywide this year, at least eight were against officers assigned to Staten Island, and three were against officers assigned to the 120th Precinct.

All of the most-sued officers from the borough were assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, which, like the anti-crime unit Pantaleo was assigned to, is involved in aggressive, proactive policing."

Does HM want to write me off as another "anti-cop liberal?" Because I'm neither. She is simply in denial regarding the culture and mentality of too many police out there, and the harm it causes among the poor and minority populations.
From nymag: "A new video of the violent arrest of a man in Bed-Stuy shows that changes can't come soon enough. The footage, which was recorded on Tuesday evening, shows several officers taking 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee down on a sidewalk after catching him with a small amount of weed. The police say that Cuffee had provided them with his ID but resisted when they moved to take him into custody. Whatever happened, nothing seems to justify the part where one cop walks away from the scene and then returns to stomp on Cuffee's head, even though he was already handcuffed and pinned to the ground."
Stomping on someone's head? This is another example of winning the battle and losing the war. Republicans like Bobby Jindahl are making a sincere effort to improve the lives of black Americans with state vouchers. But day to day interactions like these with the police alienate the poor and working class from the police, who are seen as law-and-order, i.e. GOP, even though JFK's executive order allowing public sector unions also contributes to the problem.
This essay is a classic example why conservatives continue to lose states like California and Colorado, and will one day lose Texas. It does not take into account the human factor.
I can testify from personal experience, that getting stopped by police when you are not guilty of any crime is annoying and humiliating the first time, and then increasingly demoralizing. And I am a law-abiding urban white. The manner in which you are stopped and interrogated reflects an officer's attitude of being above-the-law. City Journal's own Myron Magnet wrote of NYPD signature apathy proudly worn on their sleeve in the 1970's and colleague Theodore Dalrymple is in open contempt of the cold-hearted, British police, products, as in the U.S., of union and bureaucratic impunity.
Broken window? Sure doesn't apply to any police officer who routinely applies excessive force; union rules prevent his dismissal.
And people on the street are aware that murderers like Whitey Bulger are given special treatment once they turn state's witness, while they are harassed for crimes like selling cigarettes or using their camera.
Cameras, which have caught the police inventing facts over and over again when beatings and fatal shootings were involved.
And conservative-friendy writers like Thomas Sowell and Stuart Taylor have documented the routine abuses of the Durham police department during the Duke lacrosse case.
Yet people like Heather McDonald, Bill O'Reilly, Dennis Prager have a simple formula; - the unheralded good guy cops reduce crime, and minorities, succumbing to the demagoguery of the likes of Al Sharpton, ruin it for everybody. The recent killings and beatings of the mentally ill in Albuquerque and Fullerton and the grenade that burned a baby in Atlanta? I guess the ignorant, non-Ivy league graduates, should learn, like Yale alum Ms. McDonald does, to accept these "rogue cops" and "tragic mistakes." And prosecutors, of course, have a conflict of interest when it comes to prosecuting the very cops they depend on to do their job.
Keep up those great essays, Ms. McDonald. Too bad they have nothing to do with reality, as the landslide election of a New York mayor promising to do away with the daily humiliation of of unduly aggressive police searches just testified to.
Thank god we had Dorothy Rabinowitz, and not Heather McDonald around during the daycare witch hunts of 80s and 90s.
Just look to Seattle and its downtown environs to see the inevitable results of defensive de-policing.
"A random monkey at the Bronx Zoo would be better suited to the title of "professor" than Alex Vitale. "

I've encountered this too, but the buffoon in question was a psychologist. There are people very invested in the idea that you need their 'sophistication' and that forthright enforcement of standards will never work. What Bratton and Giuliani did was to discredit much of the sociological academy and practitioners in the social work and mental health trade. They're invested in their 'wisdom' and utility, and we've had a demonstration of their essential uselessness. They do not care for that.
Vitale The Clown July 25, 2014 at 11:54 PM
I had the unfortunate displeasure of suffering through a guest lecture by "professor" Vitale back in 2003. Even then he was railing against the NYPD and was in absolute denial about the crime reductions achieved during the Giuliani administration.

A random monkey at the Bronx Zoo would be better suited to the title of "professor" than Alex Vitale.
Imagine the community where people want broken windows, and where they want neighbors to blast their stereos at 3:00 AM preferably with the windows open or broken.

Imagine the rare two parent family with children in such an environment, both of them working and living in fear of their inconsiderate and disorderly neighbors, many of whom are high on drugs or alcohol. The only civic organizations are the Crips and the Bloods.

Imagine the police precinct commander who thinks that all is well in this lovely neighborhood and enforcing the law on such "victimless" crimes is counter productive.

He or she believes that broken windows policing is counter productive, if not fascistic.

Is this the coming New York?
Democrat policy only makes sense when viewed as attempts to profit their cronies - lawyers profit from suing over discrimination claims.

Democrat tactics are best understood as bullying. Cronies form protest groups and get the support of other leftists. their opponents don't have a profit motive driving them, and relatively diffuse benefits - also, day jobs.

Crooks profit from loot. Collectivists gang up. By sticking together they can loot with impunity.
Release his arrest record and his court record. Talk about recidivism and the expenses to the system caused by this man. Explain the safety need for responses to resisting arrest. Cite examples of assaults on police. Get the police commissioner out there talking about it, rather than letting his own officers get thrown under a bus. Anything less than vigorous action by the police brass is knuckling under to politics at officers' expense. Start doing press releases when police are injured, as well as other first responders, as well as emergency and hospital workers. And press charges instead of ignoring such offenses. Treat your employees as if they are as important as the professional activists promoting hate with bullhorns. Easy, right?
"Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams a former NYPD captain, supports the move away from broken windows."

Why stop there? Adams is also a blatant racial particularist and has parlayed that into a political career.
Contrary to the autjor's claims ,it's not hard to find senior police who oppose broken windows tactics: Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams a former NYPD captain, supports the move away from broken windows.
"I am African-American and I believe that it may be unfortunate that there is a high crime rate is some black communities."

The work of the NYPD managed to bring down the homicide rate in New York's slum neighborhoods to roughly 13 per 100,000. The worst areas are Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean-Hill / Brownsville with rates around 23 per 100,000. Keep in mind that central Rochester has a homicide rate of 35 per 100,000. Central Rochester comprises about 14% of the whole metropolitan settlement; the two community districts named have less than 2% of the New York - New Jersey metropolitan settlement. In the United States at large, the metropolitan mean in 1980 was about 12 per 100,000.

The response of people like Vitale and the Diane Pagen is to deny it is happening or cast aspersions on the police. The police have a true function and true accomplishments. Vitale would not be employed were it not for public and philanthropic subvention and Pagen's whole 'profession' is an artifact of state licensure. The 'education' they receive is flagrantly silly and divorced from true skill development and the only socially useful thing done by the social work apparat could be taken over by teams of clinical psychologists, nurses, and cops.

It would be great in this country if we had a concerted program to improve the quality of life in slum neighborhoods. Vigorous police protection - accomplishing what has been accomplished in New York City - would be the first order of business (and most places that's going to require a metropolitan police department). A revamped school system* is the 2d order of business. An end to property tax collection in the most impecunious neighborhoods is the 3d order of business. A revision of urban plans and building codes (at least those applicable in slums) to provide for a greater array of housing options is the 4th order of business (see Mark Hinshaw). Staged elimination of rent control is the 5th order of business (start with making a tenant's rent control rights salable). Streamlined procedures for eviction and foreclosure are the 6th order of business. Replacement of public housing and housing vouchers with cash transfers are the 7th order of business. And so forth and so on.

But the first order of business is order-maintenance, always and everywhere. What's maddening about it is that cretins like Vitale and Pagen fancy they have the interests of some party other than their rancid little professional subcultures at heart and have the audacity to address rebukes to others. They are disgusting.

*(voucher-funded and tuition-free private schools, regents' examinations for quality control, sheriff's department detention centers with classrooms for the incorrigibles nobody wants, the elimination of the current crop of state-run certification programs and the attendant certification requirements, and the liquidation of NCATE and the unions with RICO suits)
I always follow the law. So I want to get this right. If I am an illegal immigrant I can stay in the city I have invaded and receive an I.D card. I have rights. I can access benefits due me. The NYPD is not allowed to ask about my status; not their job. If I am a citizen just walking down the street I can be stopped, asked for my ID. If I refuse I will be arrested. Ok.
I am African-American and I believe that it may be unfortunate that there is a high crime rate is some black communities. But it would also be sheer madness to blame the police for doing their job when they target high crime areas. When the facts support the crime data what rational person could seriously complain about reasonable police enforcement of the law? .
The brutal truth of the matter is that the man did not weigh 350# because he was disciplined and did not have 30 arrests in his past because he had an excess of regard for authority. If he made a habit of being contentious and impetuous, this was just another episode. People like him might do less of it if there were not pseudo-authorities like Diane Pagen encouraging them.
I don't understand it. What is so difficult for "people of color" with a police record to grasp the simple notion that when the police accost you on the street and tell you to do something, you don't argue, you don't resist, you don't verbally abuse them. You do exactly what you are told to do and you do it PDQ. You can get an ever-ready ACLU lawyer to litigate the niceties of the encounter and the arrest, but if you're dead, no amount of argument will bring you back.
"diane Pagen" is a social worker, which is to say a pseudo-professional unworthy of being taken seriously and ignorant of how to maintain order in urban environments.
I see some of the Usual Suspects have shown up to accuse the cops of deliberately killing this man.

There is room for correction here in the form of better training.

Why did so much time elapse before summoning medical assistance?

I recognize that it is hard to switch gears and to overcome the mindset "that we have to get this potentially dangerous person in cuffs," but at some point one has to say "hey, we need to do CPR and get an ambulance here, now!"

But, I think the general thrust of the article is correct.

One is not allowed to select the laws that one will or will not comply with.

It is never legitimate to resist arrest.

We need police to have an ordered society; the alternative is gang rule and mayhem and violence, as in Chicago.

The first offender here was a man, who, if he had submitted to the arrest, would likely be at home today, and free to pursue his claims for false arrest and selective enforcement and civil rights violations, but would Al Sharpton be at all interested in him, if that were the case?

Would he be interested enough to get him a respectable and decent job?

To ask the question is to know the answer. Too bad.
Leftists always, always empower criminals -- usually in other people's neighborhoods.

Bill de Bolshevik will be all over this one. That man died from an asthma attack (which can bring on stress/heart attack): the "choke hold" didn't even leave bruises.

And our murder rate has skyrocketed already under Bill de Bolshevik. Too bad we can't confine the results of his maladministration to his supporters.
"Dire" is right. There is such a thing as too much freedom.
Any government is harmed by an excess of it's basic principles.
How far up the "crime ladder" can one go without justifiable police restraint?
Hi, Annette Tatum. I've spent most hot summer weekends for five decades in Trenton, and I'm still alive and relatively literate, with a view out my window of a crime-free Olmsted-designed park. I interrupted writing this message to lend a friend on welfare a couple of bucks so he could walk to a crime-free suburb and buy a couple of loosies, on which the merchants paid tax, and some grub. We all understand that selling loosies should be summarily punishable by death dignified by cops both violating orders and ignoring the pleas for help of a dying man. Of course, he deserved to die for telling the cops, "Don't touch me!" Maybe he knew something. And Annette, please don't consider this an invitation.
the system need to make a distinction between victimless crimes and cromes that actually do harm. The bible says that the FUNCTION of the civil magistrate is to bear the sword (discipline) those who DO HARM to others. Selling untaxed cigarettes on the steet is victimless, and is actually government interference wiht a free market. Let the markst sort that one out. On the other hand, driving through neighbourhoods with a thousand watts of noise emanating from the speakers of the car DOES indeed offend. Many times, if OSHA foundsound pressures that high in a workplace there would be fines levied. Same with occupying an apartment not yours, loud parties, congregating on someone else's stoop against their desires...... "crimes" such as jaywalking (when no cars are impeded), street vending, "hanging out" (unless such long term occupation of the uncomfortable bench prevents the use of transit riders, for whom the nench is installed), and so forth, are all nonsense "offenses de jure", and a waste of time and trax money (perhaps the cigaratte tax dollars collected are spent in enforcing the anti-sales laws? Zero gain?) The reason such sales are possible is that the tax xtructure is overly burdensome. Reminds me of a tax put on a government managed substance some years back, and which residents of a certain town to the east of New York refused to pay. particularly as other "more equal" people in the same area were not required to pay said tax.... on a higher quality product of similar type and origin. They had a little "party" (their overlords called it a "riot", and do to this day). The said taxed product ended up in the harbour, resulting in the dual benefit of the tax not being paid by the citizens, and the merchant vessels within which the cargo was held hostage until said tax was paid, were thus freed to go back to work. WHY do government insist upon levying such insane taxes, then squandering the funds thus generated? I live in one state with a very high sales tax, the next state has none. It does not take much to figure out that making many purchases in the neighbouring state produces specific benefits. Did my own state wisely make use of those taxes, two facts would change: first, I'd not hesitate to buy locally, and second, there would be little need to tax so heavily. New York's cigaratte tax is much the same. Government interference with a free market.
It is stupefyingly heartless and inhumane, not to mention illegal, to use a chokehold in policing. It is clear from the video that this man could have been reasoned with, spoken to further. These cops have no negotiation skills and no good sense. This was not a takedown to stop an armed lunatic or save a life. It was at minimum manslaughter. The NYPD is scraping the bottom of the barrel to get recruits and then not training them.
News flash: pinko sociologists are hostile to the public interest and dislike police a priori, as can be seen here:

I do not think this man does quantitative research, by the way.

Question: why does anyone pay attention to Vitale and why does he have lifetime employment in the CUNY system?
New Yorkers get what they deserve and vote for reason and logic may not apply.

It's okay to be stupid, this is America.
Want to see what it would be like when you handcuff the police and don't let them keep public order? Just spend a hot, summer weekend in Chicago or Newark or Trenton. Particularly during the first week of the month, when everyone's still flush with money from their welfare checks.
That will give you an idea of what life would be like without the police.
When my employer first moved to Harlem, my fellow employees and I were startled by the offer of "loosies," or loose cigarettes as one ascended the stairway from the subway. It was open; it was blatant and it seemed threatening in a vague way.

I think this was due to the implied assertion that the writ of the cigarette tax law did not run in this neck of the woods, and more broadly speaking it was an open, in your face assertion of lawlessness.

That practice receded as time went by and by the time I retired in 2012; it was a rare occurrence.

The effect of that reduction in blatant cigarette mongering was almost subliminal. In time, I never gave it a thought that I was going to Harlem, a name that once seemed a synonym for lawlessness and disorder. It was just another part of our big City.

An officer cannot know in confronting any 350 pound individual that he suffers from asthma or diabetes or that he has a heart condition. Even a declaration that "I can't breathe," may be a trick or a ruse to secure an advantage.

I think that rules like "no chokeholds" are great on paper but in the exigency of the moment, in that moment when one is suddenly grappling on the concrete with a person resisting arrest who weighs as much as two cops, they go out the window; not from meanness or racism or cruelty but from tension and its twin called "fear," the notion that anything can happen, and this cigarette vendor may have more than one reason to resist arrest.

When Commissioner Bratton headed the old NYC Transit Police, he was criticized for emphasizing enforcement against turnstile jumpers, until he pointed out that 30 percent of them had outstanding warrants against them, and some of them for serious crimes.

Any guesses as to whether Vitale and Harcourt live in nice "whitopias"?
I know a lot about NYPd, my first girlfriend was an Irish police lieutenant's daughter and one of my best college friends joined the force.

I have more respect for the Mafia. if they have a mad dog, they put him down, the cops protect em.

My buddy, soon after he signed on, told us "You have to steal. If you don't, the other cops kill you.

The really bad kids in my Brooklyn HS, if they had a record by the time they were 18, they joined the Maf, if they had a clean record they joined the other gang, the NYPD
She included a link to the video. And She described it accurately. Guess what? When you resist arrest... there is no polite way to get someone under control. Especially when you see the size difference between the officers and Mr. Garner. They did not run up to Mr. Garner, they listened to him for an extended period, Then announced his arrest... he refused. It is a tragedy, but one Mr. Garner set in motion, by 1) committing a crime 2) resisting arrest.
The cops in this country are out of control and can't be trusted to enforce anything properly. Address police abuses and stop being their shill.
Mr. Meyers: While cops certainly do screw up and if ALL of the facts warrant it, the cop(s) here should be prosecuted.....

However, videos RARELY, if ever tell the whole story of what did or didn't happen in a given situation.

Your description is a complete whitewash of events the whole world saw, starting with "broke free" then on to "put his arm around Garner’s neck and pulled him to the ground" which could better be described as "was ambushed from behind" then "choked unconscious and then choked for quite a while longer" but the real kicker is "died of cardiac arrest" which is something you simply bought from the guilty cops instead of the more accurate "an autopsy on the asthmatic father of six proved inconclusive."

Your point about the utility of aggressive policing stands without an unwarrantedly charitable recount of recent events. Anyone who reads this should watch the video and decide for themselves.
Even if the crackdown on squeegee men in Manhattan didn't have a broad impact on "robberies and shootings in the outer boroughs," it sure as hell made Manhattan a much more pleasant place to live and work! I definitely do not miss the days when people would roll slowly towards traffic signals (or worse, floor the pedal when the light turned yellow), hoping that the light would turn green before they'd have to stop and risk facing getting shaken down by a belligerent squeegee man.

Garner's death appears to have been a shameful act of police incompetence, but let's not throw away the important improvements in the quality of life that the city has seen over the past few decades. People really do seem to have forgotten how miserable the city had gotten in the 70s and 80s.
'Blame the victim'? How did she blame the poorer residents of NYC, who are the victims of the campaign against legitimate law enforcement?
Very thoughtful, 'blame the victim' piece of journalism. Thanks.