Bye-Bye Bratton

Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

Controversial NYPD Commissioner William Bratton reportedly to resign.

NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio reported Tuesday that the head of the NYPD, the US’s biggest police department, would be stepping down in September. Previously Bratton had spoken about retiring in 2017, when DeBlasio’s term ended. It is not clear what has motivated an earlier departure for Bratton, although Teneo Holdings, a corporate consulting firm, announced that Bratton would be joining their ranks.

Bratton’s tenure as a civil servant spans decades. In New York he is known by some as the man who lowered crime rates. As Commissioner, he has helped increase the NYPD’s budget and resources.

More controversially, under his leadership the NYPD increased “broken windows” policing, which was originally implemented in an effort to lower crime. It involves policing neighborhoods for petty crimes in an effort to prevent larger ones. In action, it has been implemented mostly in neighborhoods with large minority and impoverished populations, inciting calls of prejudicial policing. Bratton was the Commissioner when Eric Garner, of Staten Island, was choked to death for one of those so-called petty crimes, selling loose cigarettes. Recent data has shown that targeting petty crimes, like public drinking, does not have an effect on the perpetration of felonies.

Under his leadership, the NYPD instituted a slowdown of work in a politically motivated message to Mayor DeBlasio. Officers also showed blatant disrespect for the mayor at the funeral for a fallen officer.

On Monday, the group Millions March NYC, an anti-police violence movement in support of Black Lives Matter, occupied City Hall Park in lower Manhattan beginning around 9 am.  They reportedly began planning to “Shut Down City Hall” at the beginning of July, when Bratton spoke against the Black Lives Matter Movement on a local radio station. Bratton criticized Black Lives Matter for being anti-police. The occupiers demanded Bratton’s resignation and the end to what they see as racist “broken windows” policing.

 It seems that their occupation was successful.

Bratton’s replacement will be his current second-in-command. Some believe that, because he is lesser known, he may be less “imperialistic,” and more beholden to the will of the people. Other’s see this as a mere continuation of Bratton’s leadership.

With racial and police tensions as high as they are, police reform is heavy many people’s minds. Bratton has asserted that the NYPD is already leading the way in police reform in for the nation. Removing him from his position may, therefore, merely be a symbolic gesture to satiate protesters. 

 

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