My View II: Will ‘Broken Windows’ Theory Hold Up?

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broken-windows

The New York Times editorial board this week published two biting criticisms of the New York Police Department’s response to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his perceived public support of protesters the police hold responsible for the shooting death two weeks ago of two of their colleagues.

On Monday, the Times wrote, “Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.”

In the meantime, on Tuesday, the Times cited a New York Post article that found that, for the week that began the day the officers were shot, “officers are essentially abandoning enforcement of low-level offenses.” Writes the Times, “traffic citations had fallen by 94 percent over the same period last year, summonses for offenses like public drinking and urination were down 94 percent, parking violations were down 92 percent, and drug arrests by the Organized Crime Control Bureau were down 84 percent.”

They continue, “The data cover only a week, and the reasons for the plunge are not entirely clear. But it is so steep and sudden as to suggest a dangerous, deplorable escalation of the police confrontation with the de Blasio administration.”

The Times calls this action “repugnant and inexcusable.” They write, “It amounts to a public act of extortion by the police.”

“This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake,” a police source told the New York Post. “Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.”

The Tuesday editorial proceeds to make the case that the police are not justified in such an extreme reaction – but even if they were, putting the public at risk seems petty and self-serving, and ultimately will undermine whatever self-righteous indignation they have.

But are they putting the public at risk? At the heart of the New York Police Department’s policy is a theory developed in the early 1980s by Professors George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in an article in the Atlantic Monthly.

The theory posits that cracking down on minor disorder – vandalism and other acts – can cut down on violent crime as well.

“If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken,” the men wrote nearly 33 years ago. “This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing.”

But the theory was already under attack before the NYPD unwittingly put it to a test.

In August, following the death of Eric Garner, the New York Times wrote an article noting that “Critics denounce the theory as neoconservative pablum resulting in overpolicing and mass incarceration for relatively minor offenses that disproportionately target poor, black and Hispanic people. Moreover, they say it was not derived from scientific evidence and its connection to the city’s drastic decline in major crime remains unproven.”

Professor Wilson, a long time respected researcher at Harvard and UCLA, died in 2012. His co-author, Professor Kelling, at 78 remains active as a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research institute.

He told the Times, that he still believes that their theory and plunging crimes rates are inextricably linked.

However, the Times quotes Alex Vitale, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, who told the paper that he believes that enlisting officers to pursue minor offenses is “too expensive and undermines public confidence in the police.”

Steve Zeidman, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at City University School of Law, said: “While broken windows doesn’t lead inexorably to a homicide like Eric Garner’s, the more you turn loose 35,000 officers with the mandate to restore order, the more you increase the chances for something to go horribly wrong.

“Can someone argue that ‘restoration of order’ is at least partially responsible for the drop in reported crime?” Professor Zeidman said. “Sure, but the police commissioner acts like it is a causal relationship that has been proven and is irrefutable.”

The original article was based on a mid-1970s New Jersey program called “Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Program,” however, the author acknowledged that “based on its analysis of a carefully controlled experiment carried out chiefly in Newark, the foundation concluded, to the surprise of hardly anyone, that foot patrol had not reduced crime rates.”

Instead, they argued, “But residents of the foot patrolled neighborhoods seemed to feel more secure than persons in other areas, tended to believe that crime had been reduced, and seemed to take fewer steps to protect themselves from crime (staying at home with the doors locked, for example).”

They write, “These findings may be taken as evidence that the skeptics were right- foot patrol has no effect on crime; it merely fools the citizens into thinking that they are safer. But in our view, and in the view of the authors of the Police Foundation study (of whom Kelling was one), the citizens of Newark were not fooled at all. They knew what the foot-patrol officers were doing, they knew it was different from what motorized officers do, and they knew that having officers walk beats did in fact make their neighborhoods safer.”

However, one study by University of Chicago professors Bernard Harcourt and Jens Ludwig revisited broken windows and found little evidence to support the notion that the broken windows theory of cracking down on minor offenses leads to a decrease in more serious crime.

In fact quite the opposite, as some studies found that targeting minor crimes harms poor people and minorities. The same authors found that this policy might actually lead to a disproportionate number of drug arrests for blacks which bleeds into the New Jim Crow theory by Michelle Alexander.

Professor Kelling told the Times, “It started as an observation, but since then there’s been science… The burden’s on the other side to say there is no link between disorderly conditions and serious crime.”

That may be put to a test now. As the Business Insider reported earlier this week, “If the police don’t resume arresting people for minor crimes, however, they could end up testing whether the city’s aggressive ‘broken windows theory’ of policing actually works.”

It would be ironic because Mayor de Blasio, while campaigning on a promise to reduce the stop and frisk policies that antagonized minorities, has openly supported broken windows since taking office.

“Because of the broken-windows approach, we are the safest we’ve ever been. I lived through the 1980s in this city and the early ’90s, and I don’t ever want to go back there,” Mayor de Blasio told the Daily News.

De Blasio hired Bill Bratton – who had worked as NYPD commissioner in 1994 under Mayor Rudy Guiliani – to resume that position. Following the death of Mr. Garner, Mr. Bratton published a defense of broken windows for the City Journal.

“The NYPD’s critics object, in particular, to the department’s long-standing practice of maintaining order in public spaces,” he writes.

However, others believe that fewer arrests will be a good thing for New York and race relations.

“If the NYPD can safely cut arrests by two-thirds, why haven’t they done it before?” the Atlantic, ironically the publication where the theory was first espoused, asked this week. “The human implications of this question are immense. Fewer arrests for minor crimes logically means fewer people behind bars for minor crimes. Poorer would-be defendants benefit the most; three-quarters of those sitting in New York jails are only there because they can’t afford bail. Fewer New Yorkers will also be sent to Rikers Island, where endemic brutality against inmates has led to resignations, arrests, and an imminent federal civil-rights intervention over the past six months. A brush with the American criminal-justice system can be toxic for someone’s socioeconomic and physical health.”

The Atlantic adds, “The NYPD might benefit from fewer unnecessary arrests, too. Tensions between the mayor and the police unions originally intensified after a grand jury failed to indict a NYPD officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner during an arrest earlier this year. Garner’s arrest wasn’t for murder or arson or bank robbery, but on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes—hardly the most serious of crimes. Maybe the NYPD’s new ‘absolutely necessary’ standard for arrests would have produced a less tragic outcome for Garner then. Maybe it will for future Eric Garners too.”

If NYPD can curb arrests for minor offenses without the crime rate ticking back up, does that mean the end of the broken windows theory which has put police departments on a collision course with blacks and other minorities? We’ll see.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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46 thoughts on “My View II: Will ‘Broken Windows’ Theory Hold Up?”

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Not the point of the column today. The point is that their little protest may actually make things better by reducing unnecessary and minor arrests.

      1. Miwok

        Mr Greenwald, good article. The TIMES makes fun of, criticizes and denigrates the NYPD then complains they are not giving out tickets or arresting people?

        Maybe it is time to try the other way. I know NYC would be a good laboratory to try it. Maybe Eric Holder should strap on a gun and badge and go to work?

        Having said that, I know two things from experience: They made the City better in a lot of people’s eyes, and The NYPD heart is broken. To have the top leaders and pundits in NYC complain about the criminals not being able to ply their trade, then criticize the NYPD after two of their people are targeted and killed is hard to take as a group.

        I cannot fathom people who argue about criminals being let out to continue their bad behavior, as many on this topic do. But the State has spoken with new laws, and voted in people who believe they are right. When their house is broken into, and their kids assaulted at gunpoint, or even killed, will they have the same attitude? That is why some of my earlier posts always included, “make up the extra room” to house these felons.

  1. Tia Will

    BP

    Hey maybe the NY cops are just doing their own form of protest.”

    I have no problem with any peaceful protest. I do have a problem with those who will not publicly admit what they are doing. I do have a problem with paying people to not do their job. So if the police want to protest, let them do so openly, honestly and not expect to be compensated for their expression of their personal beliefs.

    I would also find it very interesting if this action were to  illustrate the disconnect between the rate of petty crimes and the rate of more serious crimes.

    1. Barack Palin

      Are you saying you think it might be a good thing to let public urinators, drunkards, traffic speeders and drug dealers and users to walk the streets of NY unabated?

      1. Tia Will

        BP”Are you saying you think it might be a good thing to let public urinators, drunkards, traffic speeders and drug dealers and users to walk the streets of NY unabated?”

        No, I am saying that I think that it would be good to sort out the various factors that have contributed to the decrease in crime, not only in NY but also in places in which the crime rate has dropped that have not employed this strategy rather than blindly accepting the opinion of any interest group about why the crime rate has fallen, be they police of other interested parties.

        I also think that it would be a good thing for the police response to consistently be proportional to the infraction. I do not believe that locking people up for prolonged periods of time if they cannot afford bail is a cost effective strategy either financially or socially. Nor do I believe that a stop for selling cigarettes should ever end in the death of the detainee. No amount of conversation about “broken windows” will ever change that belief for me.

         

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          It always amazes me how binary people’s thinking is. If you criticize current policy, the response is often to go 180 degrees in change rather than assess whether the current policy is working, what the downsides are, and whether there is a 90 degree alternative that can fix the downsides of the current policy while retaining its upside.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      It will be interesting to see how quickly the small-time law breakers catch on.

      Crime could also go up, or even skyrocket. What happens when teenagers and gang bangers find out they face no consequences?

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        If you are referring to Prop 47, there isn’t almost no consequence. There are reduced long term consequences, but ultimately you commit a crime, you’re going to face six to 12 months in jail instead of 2 years, a shorter probation, and lesser job consequences. My hope is that we then funnel savings into restorative justice and other alternative programs – we’ll see.

  2. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > The theory posits that cracking down on minor disorder – vandalism

    > and other acts can cut down on violent crime as well.
    The “theory” is correct that cracking down on vandalism and “some” other crimes (like abusing pets) WILL “cut down on violent crime as well”, but “cracking down” on parking one minute over the time limit in a metered space, or driving one mile over the speed limit or selling an untaxed “loosie” does NOTHING to “cut down on violent crime” but it does raise a LOT of money (needed to pay $100K + per year in pension and health care benefits that most recently retired public safety workers get)…

  3. PhilColeman

    Academically, I was raised on James Q Wilson’s writings, which were contemporary going back a half-century to my formative years. Wilson’s discussions on “Varieties of Police Behavior” remains a seminal–if forgotten–product to this day. James Q’s related social observations are also still relevant, as shown by the Times article.

    The “broken window” theory in the article is depicted accurately at the outset, but then is notably distorted  by select current academics who should know better. I have to wonder if the distortion was accidental or borne of ignorance, or deliberate. Either way, the subsequent discussion and political interpretations lead a false trail and render the entire discussion in this column valueless.

    The broken window theory was never intended to be a justification for the notion of increased policing of minor crimes. Instead, it showed how when a neighborhood first begins to take on appearance of becoming blighted, it increases exponentially. One broken window, becomes two, and then broken windows everywhere. The solution by Wilson and his colleague was for communities to be vigilant in preventing community blight before it gets a visual foothold.

    In other words, the Broken Window Theory means “fix the window immediately,” not “hire a bunch more cops.”

    Nowhere in contemporary society has the broken window theory proved more valid than in the combatting of urban graffiti. How much graffiti do you see in Davis compared to some nearby cities? When tagging was first becoming a visual blight in this city decades ago, the city created a volunteer-lead Graffiti Abatement Program. Within hours, the reported tagging was removed lest it become infectious and quickly be repeated all over town.

    Finally, a closing observation on the deliberate attempt to falsely characterize the political bias of Broken Window authors. Harvard University has never been seen as a bastion of conservative political leanings. James Q Wilson was a distinguished professor for the Crimson for many years. Wilson’s writing colleague was vaguely depicted as being part of a conservative think tank. This comment appears to be a deliberate attempt to give partisan political shadings to what the Broken Window Theory really means. None of Wilson’s many published writings show a conservative political bent, he showed all views. If anything, James Q Wilson’s thinking was more liberal than conservative.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      James Q Wilson was a giant in the political science field and wrote the work on bureacracy. But I recall him being a noted conservative though an early Democrat. He was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

      1. Anon

        Nevertheless, it does sound as if the Broken Windows theory has been mischaracterized.  It seems to me the Vanguard itself espoused the actual Broken Windows theory, when it insisted the city should make the owner of the Westlake shopping center do something about the boarded up windows and the pile of dirt on the loading dock.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      I almost always enjoy reading your feedback, thank you.

      Am I correct that there were actually 4 or 5 major strategies or initiatives that occurred back in the late 1980s, and they may be getting co-mingled?

      1. We had a strong push for mandatory sentencing after too many serious offenders were let off with a slap on the wrist for kooky reasons.

      2. We had new policing strategies in New York that focused on the worst of the worst.

      3. President Bill Clinton and Congress funded 100,000 extra police officers, who focused primarily on the top 10 or 20 crime spots in America, which they realized would drive down our national crime numbers. (Example: New York city went from over 2,000 murder per year to under 400, a per capita rate far lower than Oakland or San Francisco.)

      4. The Broken Window strategy.

      5. A crackdown on crack cocaine, which was a drug that ripped apart communities and had a great deal of violent crime associated with it. At the time many urban leaders were also pushing for tougher sentencing laws.

      6. Stop and Frisk – was this also used back then?

      New York went from a war zone where locals feared getting killed when they stepped out for a pizza or to catch a cab. The change was so vast, some New Yorkers oddly pined for the days when Times Square was seedy, and street walkers were plentiful.

  4. Anon

    For me, this is an issue of moderation.  Everything should be done in moderation if possible.  If there is too aggressive a police force, it leads to the overuse of excessive force by cops.  If there is a push to forgo arresting criminals, particularly for low level crimes, the predators will start taking advantage and engage in more petty crime.  It is important to reach a proper balance that keeps things in proper check.

  5. Tia Will

    Anon

    I agree with this point. I am sure that we are both also aware from previous conversations that there is no well defined agreement on where that balance lies. I remember a conversation that you and I had regarding my relatively high tolerance ( as compared with yours) for graffiti.

    Balance is critical in what behaviors we define as “criminal”, what types of penalties we assess for those we have so defined, and how much force we are willing to apply in the enforcement of the laws that we choose to enact. All of that is even before we get to the point of discussing equal application of the laws and equality within our judicial system once a charge has been made.

    1. Anon

      Yes, where to strike the balance is crucial and difficult to determine, especially depending on the mindset of the particular state you live in.  For instance, CA seems particularly strong on “law and order”.  It also depends on where within the state you live.  New York City went to the stronger policing model because the city’s crime rate was unacceptably high to the populace.  But I suspect the side effect of stronger policing was the overuse of excessive force, hence the need to perhaps pull back a bit on stronger policing tactics, and take a hard look at policing policies, e.g use of the chokehold – what discipline will be meted out for its unauthorized use?

      IMO equal application of laws and equality/inequality in our justice system is a whole other issue, separate from policing methodologies.

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    No shock that the uber liberal New York Times takes these stands.

    Pablum? Murders down from 2,000 to 400.

    Seattle is another case study as AG Eric Holder has enforced a consent decree which has limited police actions, and crime is up I think 20%, auto crime way up.

    Maybe Mr. Coleman can comment, but over the years I have spoken with several individuals in law enforcement and related agencies, and they have offered this viewpoint. They felt the best way to steer a young person away from crime was to come down on them hard the first offense, to teach them a lesson. They felt that we were often doing the opposite, giving 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances, a pass here and a pass there, and the whole process becomes a joke, a nuisance, and the wayward youth doesn’t take it seriously while they have adopted a disdain for the law and society.

    Is this a valid viewpoint?

    1. Anon

      Have you ever seen the reality program “Scared Straight”?  It is a program that many states have, that gives youthful troublemakers a taste of the prison system and what it will be like if they keep up their bad behavior.  IMO it is a great way to give intransigent youth a wake up call and head them away from prison life.  It doesn’t always work, but it seems to be reasonably effective for many potential youthful offenders.

      1. Davis Progressive

        the research on scared straight has not been good.  the original scared straight program didn’t do much to change conduct.  why?  most youth are not scared – why?  lack of resources to succeed, lack of change in lifestyle after the program, many still believe they are invincible, etc.

  7. Frankly

    In August, following the death of Eric Garner, the New York Times wrote an article noting that “Critics denounce the theory as neoconservative pablum resulting in overpolicing and mass incarceration for relatively minor offenses that disproportionately target poor, black and Hispanic people. Moreover, they say it was not derived from scientific evidence and its connection to the city’s drastic decline in major crime remains unproven.”

    There have been some recent independent studies proving the broken window theory.

    But it is laughable how the NYT has jumped out to try and pin this on Republicans.   This all started with the Clinton administration and the The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

    This was the largest domestic crime prevention bill in the history of the US.  Within this mega bill where monies for local law enforcement tied to crime prevention programs that were derived from the broken window theory and sanctioned by the US Department of Justice research arm.  Now the Clinton bill did include some policy goals for increasing community policing (COPS).  But the actual impact was de minimis.   It was de minimis because other public policy goals connected to the federal money were in direct conflict for resources that would otherwise be directed at community policing.

    And today many of the large city police departments are beholden to the money that flows from federal law enforcement.  And federal law enforcement demands trump local community policing goals.

    But true to form, the NYT ignores the ideologically inconvenient primary factor that contributed to the death of Eric Gardner.  And it is one that is absolutely NOT Republican.  That is the decision to tax cigarettes to the point that they became an attractive black market candidate, and then the follow-up demand of a hard response to punish tax evasion.

  8. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Talk about a stretch. Let’s see. Mr. Gardner’s death had nothing to do with the police making a decision to use lethal force to enforce a minor offense. It had nothing to do with assessing the level of the infraction and not choosing to match one’s response proportionaliy. It had nothing to do with police frustration at being talked back to instead of being obeyed immediately. It had nothing to do with ignoring the pleas of a visibly unhealthy man that he could not breathe. No, the primary factor from your point of view was taxation. Wow !  I can’t even believe that you believe that long enough to write it.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia:

      Why did the cops engage Mr. Garner (he was not paying taxes)

      Why did Mr. Garner resist (he knew he was not paying taxes and would get in trouble)

      The cops did not just kill a random guy they killed a guy that fought back after they tried to stop him from making illegal sales without paying the exorbitant NY cigarette taxes.

      Has ANYONE said that the cops (as directed by their black sargent)  just killed a random black guy who happened to be selling untaxed cigarettes?

        1. South of Davis

          Miwok wrote:

          > Isn’t evading taxes a White Collar crime?

          Al “Scarface” Capone was sent to jail for “tax evasion” and most people don’t consider the legendary gangster a “white collar criminal”…

        2. Tia Will

          Miwok

          Isn’t evading taxes a White Collar crime?”

          I believe that evading ( or at least paying as little in taxes as is conceivably possible) is a national pass time. From my point of view we have become a nation of folks who hate the idea of paying for what we have. We want to believe that we are individually and independently responsible for all the benefits that we have in this country all the while forgetting that most of our greatest achievements were the result of collaborations between individuals, private companies and the government with all playing critical roles. It has become extremely popular to blame the government for all of our ills and to believe that we should not have to pay anything for that from which we all benefit.

          Collar color aside, I believe that we are all complicit in this determination not to contribute any more than is absolutely necessary.

        3. Miwok

          Collar color aside, I believe that we are all complicit in this determination not to contribute any more than is absolutely necessary.

          I can only say that people would rather give money instead of watching the government give it to countries or causes they don’t agree with. When the elected give money to people because it keeps them under control, when they could give to people without food, I resent that.

          Why are we buying Saudi Arabia ANYTHING?

          I also resent people from the charities renting limos and private jets. So I don’t give money to them either. The Fourth and Hope Director is a prime example of how low it goes. There are people stealing from where they work just to give their kids office supplies in school.

          When the President sent the supposed soldiers to Africa to fight Ebola, that is money well spent. But I saw video they were medical professionals of some Health Service I had never heard of before. But if some of the money went a despot, then I am annoyed again. And we will hear about it eventually.

          I enjoy hearing your views, thank you all.`

        4. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I believe that we are all complicit in this determination not

          > to contribute any more than is absolutely necessary.

          Let us know when you sell one of your many (“more than necessary”)  homes so you can send the profit to the government and “contribute more than necessary”…

      1. Tia Will

        SOD

        The cops did not just kill a random guy”

        Well you have succeeded in making a double play on the straw man argument. You are correct. No one has made the claim that the police just killed some random guy. The claim is that the amount of force was disproportionate to the law being broken. I do not believe that the illegal selling of cigarettes or the non payment of taxes, or even arguing with a police officer or disobedience, are punishable by death under the law. And yet this was the fate of Mr. Garner.

        So both of your straw man claims are correct. The cops did not just kill a random guy and no one said that the cops ( as directed by their black sergeant) who happened to be selling untaxed cigarettes. So since it would appear that we are in agreement, what exactly was your point ?

    2. Frankly

      Open your eyes Tia.  Cops are subordinate to law makers.  They only ENFORCE the laws, they don’t make them.  And they don’t make the sentencing rules either.

      It is an inconvenient truth that your worldview supports a system that increases the risk of Eric Gardner and others like him being handled forcefully by the police.

      1. Anon

        I am just curious: Do you feel the chokehold put on Mr. Garner by the police was appropriate, even tho against police procedure?  Do you feel the police officer who put the chokehold on Mr. Garner should in any way be disciplined for the unauthorized use of a banned police tactic, because it was known to cause harm to citizens?

        1. Frankly

          The officer that put the choke hold on Mr. Garner was directed to do so by his black female sergeant standing right there directing him.   There was a team of law enforcement officers involved and nobody intervened to release the hold on Mr. Garner.

          I absolutely do not agree that the officer should be disciplined.  But I absolutely agree that the officers need changes to protocol and training for how to detain a large suspect with minimal risk that he would be killed. And when a suspect is complaining about not being able to breathe, the protocol should be to immediately attend to that complaint to ascertain if it is real or fake, and then proceed appropriately.

          We simply cannot keep banning techniques for the cops to use to detain and force compliance because of the risk of injury or death.

          Again – if you want to prevent this same event from occurring, then just decriminalize the selling of cigarettes on the street.

        2. Frankly

          You have a commanding officer standing over the the other officers and having responsibility to direct them, and so, yes, she is the responsible party unless she directed the officer to release his hold and the officer refused.

          And how is this a white cop against black suspect issue when the commanding officer standing over the entire event was a black female?

        3. Davis Progressive

          all that suggests to me is that both need to be disciplined.  in the pepper spray incident, both pike and lee ultimately lost their jobs. but so too did the chief and one of the captains.

  9. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Cops are subordinate to law makers.”

    How do you square this belief with the following incidents:

    1. The pepper spraying at UCD. After the fact judged as the use of excessive force and the inappropriate use of a weapon not intended for use in the manner executed and in which the officers doing the spraying had not received training with the equipment they chose to use. No lawmaker forced those cans of pepper spray into the hands of Lt. Pike and the other involved officer.

    2. The illegal ( according to the reporting of NYC police rules) use of a chokehold persistent until death of an individual clearly being heard to state that he could not breath. No lawmaker forced the officer to maintain his hold on a dying man.

    For a guy who likes to push personal responsibility, you are very quick to let police officers off the hook for their personal actions. I have come to the realization that you only talk about personal responsibility. I actually believe in it. Oh the irony !

     

    1. Frankly

      1. The police officer was punished.  Change to police protocol were implemented.  There are laws on the books to ensure public safety.  It was a peaceful protest, but it was blocking entrance and exit.  Those are laws that lawmakers put on the books that the cops are sworn to uphold.

      2. This is a ridiculous statement.  If the taxes and the enforcement of tax evasion were not laws put on the books by law makers, Eric Garner would still be alive.  Take some personal responsibility for your love of taxing and spending and engineering society with top-down rules to live by.  These things have negative consequences that you and others with your political views just don’t ever seem to want to take responsibility for.

      I am wondering if you are pursuing the officer using the choke hold because he is a white male, since his sergeant standing there and directing him was a black female.  Why isn’t she getting the heat?  She did not direct the officer to release his hold.

      1. Miwok

        1. The police officer was punished.  Change to police protocol were implemented.  There are laws on the books to ensure public safety.  It was a peaceful protest, but it was blocking entrance and exit.  Those are laws that lawmakers put on the books that the cops are sworn to uphold.

        Frankly, I will correct a couple things in this statement:

        The officer, (Pike) was terminated, and he had already been in trouble years earlier for a personnel issue that had already cost the University another officer and $250K.

        They had been blocking a sidewalk in a four acre field for days, and had no tents and very little else left in the immediate area. I encourage you to look at the many videos of the final incidents. Most of the previous days had been no more disruptive than the Whole Earth Festival, with fewer people. Trash, non-University Students and trespassers were getting to be a problem.

        the UC PD did not follow the law, they followed the Chancellor. The Chief of Police, also now gone, advised the Administration about this, and was thee, not in uniform. SEE Cruz Reynoso’s investigative report.

        1. Frankly

          You have not really corrected anything.

          And you also forgot that a similar “peaceful” protest in Berkeley got out of hand and the protestors damaged property.  So the police were also compelled by the law that they are sworn to uphold to prevent the same from happening on the UCD campus.

  10. Anon

    Frankly: “The officer that put the choke hold on Mr. Garner was directed to do so by his black female sergeant standing right there directing him.   There was a team of law enforcement officers involved and nobody intervened to release the hold on Mr. Garner.
    I absolutely do not agree that the officer should be disciplined.  But I absolutely agree that the officers need changes to protocol and training for how to detain a large suspect with minimal risk that he would be killed. And when a suspect is complaining about not being able to breathe, the protocol should be to immediately attend to that complaint to ascertain if it is real or fake, and then proceed appropriately.
    If the officers “need changes to protocol and training for how to detain a large suspect”, then clearly you must have a problem with chokeholds.
    In fact, the chokehold was against NYC police procedure, according to CNN: “In an interview in August with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said that no local laws criminalize chokeholds, though they are prohibited by his department. In fact, the NYPD could discipline Pantaleo or his fellow officers if an ongoing internal review finds their actions did not align with police department procedures.
    Does it really matter who gave the order?  Why not punish both the sergeant who gave the order to place the chokehold, and the police officer who used it?  They both knew better.

    1. Frankly

      Chokeholds are against NYPD policy and are at the center of the controversial death of a suspect on Staten Island, but Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday he’s opposed to making them a crime.

      “I think we have to be a little careful in terms of the legal front,” he said. “There are some exceptional situations where the life of the officer could truly be in danger and that’s where there has to be some flexibility.”

      At the same time, he warned that cops who use a chokehold in non-life-threatening situations will face “consequences.”

      The mayor’s comments echoed those of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who told a City Council hearing Monday that chokeholds were barred by NYPD regulations and that he would not support making them illegal under criminal statutes.

      So they are “prohibited”, but still accepted when justified.

      And so it is a training issue for when it is justified.

       

      1. Anon

        Excuse me, but you did not read your own post!

        “…he warned that cops who use a chokehold in non-life-threatening situations will face “consequences…”

        Garner was not threatening the life of any of the police officers at the time the chokehold was used on him, so the chokehold was hardly justified.  It is going to be interesting to see if any of the police officers at the scene “face consequences” as has been promised.

        1. Frankly

          What you in your arm chair see as life-threatening is different than what a cop in a physical confrontation with a large, angry man would be.  My point was that your initial absolute statement that choke holds are disallowed even the Mayor disagrees with.  They are allowed when they are justified.  The training would be to help the officers make better decisions for when they are justified.

          Here is what I know about law enforcement.  They rarely over-react when a suspect complies with their verbal commands.  They sometimes over-react when a suspect refuses to comply.  They often over-react when a suspect refuses to comply and makes any move that suggests he will get physical.   They usually over-react when this happens and the suspect is large and potentially dangerous to the officer if he gets out of control.

          But they over-react because they are at risk.  Neither you nor most of the people complaining about the officers actions where at risk.  We are the Einsteins in hindsight… the dime-a-dozen critics.

          But again, this all gets back to those complicit with the laws being put on the books that the police have to enforce.  Apparently we cannot achieve utopia without a constant flow of rules to live by, and corresponding anger at those sworn to enforce the rules.

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