PUBLISHED : THURS, 05 JUN 2014, 05:21 PM
UPDATED : THURS, 05 JUN 2014, 11:13 PM
A reporter from The New York Times apparently was embedded with NYPD for a military style raid in some Harlem public housing projects, resulting in biased reporting that was pro-police invasions, similar to when The NYTimes sexed up its reporting by printing propaganda to sell the public on the U.S invasion of Iraq.
Commissioner Bratton is exploiting The NYTimes' weakness for shock and awe, showing us once again that the Gray Lady apparently learned nothing of its Iraq War reporting prejudices.
Selling military style police invasions like war games
IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS, the New York Police Department have begun raiding homeless shelters to arrest poor people on outstanding warrants (whose only crimes are, basically, being poor), and police have begun invading public housing projects in military style to round up youngsters allegedly involved in gangs on the basis of flimsy evidence.
Many professional, nonprofit organizations that lobby for police reform issued statements to denounce the police actions. "This incident goes against what this administration stands for," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, referring to Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, "and is going to drive people out of homeless shelters." But these profession, nonprofit organizations are nothing but talk these days.
Grassroots advocates for wholesale law enforcement reforms are not as restrained as the professional, nonprofit organizations. Last week, some of these advocates attended a meeting, where advocates discussed issues that are blocking professional, nonprofit organizations from resuming the direct action, pressure politics campaign for reforms that were beginning to produce some results in the final year of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration.
A large coalition of professional, nonprofit organizations is called Communities United for Police Reform, or CPR. These organizations are either administered by operatives loyal to the Democratic Party, or else they are funded by deep pocket donors, who are loyal to the Democratic Party. These close political ties prevent these professional, nonprofit organizations from making Mayor de Blasio look like he is betraying his many campaign promises to reform the NYPD, as these militaristic police actions most certainly confirm. One way many grassroots activists have, to determine how the CPR member organizations are committed to reforms, is by gauging CPR's actions. Are CPR's actions consistent with the intentions of the movement to reform the NYPD ? Right now, CPR is just talk and no action.
Of special consternation to some law enforcement reform advocates is the apparent silence of Picture the Homeless, one of CPR's member organizations. As people in homeless shelters are being rounded up and arrested, Picture the Homeless is not calling on help from other CPR member organizations to protest the de Blasio administration's policy decision to shock shelter residents in the middle of the night, forcing them to uncomfortably witness the shackling and arresting of fellow shelter residents under such jarring conditions.
Protests by the CPR member organizations against brutal and unconstitutional police tactics peaked on Father’s Day in 2012, when a silent march from Harlem to Mayor Bloomberg’s mansion drew tens of thousands of protesters. Right now, one group visibly pressing for aggressive reforms is New Yorkers Against Bratton. As Commissioner William Bratton continues to stir controversy with the police department's use of aggressive, brutal, and often unconstitutional tactics, more and more New Yorkers are going to plainly see that the CPR member organizations are not committed to reforms, because they are unwilling to back up their talk with action.
While the NYPD raids homeless shelters and public projects with no visible protestations from CPR member organizations and while the media play up the dramatic military style use of helicopters and battalions of cops in dawn surprise attacks, another high-profile police reform group, the Police Reform Organizing Project, or PROP, is organizing an art exhibit next week.
The NYPD's "Broken Windows Policing" escalates into "Preventative Policing" ?
As if all of this just wasn't enough, the NYPD has announced a new program with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, whereby the police department has entered into a "close collaboration" with prosecutors, sharing electronic surveillance information between prosecutors and police officers on people, who have committed no crime, but who are targets of prejudice for possible suspicion. It's like straight out of Minority Report, where people are arrested by law enforcement for having committed no crimes, yet. The kind of "preventative policing" that NYPD and Manhattan prosecutors envision is an escalation of "broken windows policing," where people are arrested for minor crimes before they theoretically commit bigger crimes. This obsession with preventative and broken windows policing will flood the justice system with many people being tried for minor infractions or no infractions, but these discriminatory approaches to justice will not allow prosecutors to focus on complex public, corporate, and campaign corruption cases -- an imbalance in the prosecution of crimes that lead many law enforcement reform advocates to describe a legal system that treats petty criminals worse than white collar criminals. Indeed, a glaring example of this tale of two justice systems is the police department's military style invasion of Harlem public housing projects for the arrest of alleged young gang members during the same week when former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes remains free with no imminent threat of arrest for having used the money proceeds of drug deals to pay for his campaign consultant.