Based on the data, social distancing enforcement just so happens to effect minorities at a higher rate….to nobody’s surprise. According to Data released by the NYPD, there were social 120 distancing arrest between March 16th and May 5th. Of those arrest, 68% were black and 24% were Hispanic. Furthermore, of the 374 summonses handed out, 304 of them went to blacks and Hispanics. Meanwhile, half naked people who are on top of each other sunbathing in the East Village are given masks by police officers.
The minute Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the NYPD would have the authority to enforce social distancing with summonses and arrest, it was just a matter of time before the data reflected what it usually does. No matter what is happening in this city, the NYPD finds a way to enforce the law with a heavier hand when it comes to minorities.
When de Blasio was asked about the social distancing policy being compared to stop and frisk he pushed back saying “What happened with stop and frisk was a systematic, oppressive, unconstitutional strategy that created a new problem much bigger than anything it purported to solve.”
What de Blasio fails to realize is that the NYPD itself has long needed a systematic overhaul. It’s not like de Blasio is some champion of the NYPD. He has been called anti police in the past. No matter who the Mayor is in this city, the NYPD continues to have issues with minority communities. We’ve gone through, stop and frisk, we’ve gone through quota systems, and now, even during a pandemic we see the systematic issues within this police department.
Yes, there are more good cops than bad cops. However, there are more mediocre cops than anything else in this city. It’s mediocre cops who are clueless and are not truly prepared for the job because truth be told, they never really wanted to be police officers in the first place. It’s mediocre cops who rather maintain the status quo instead of actually understanding the neighborhoods they patrol. A perfect example of a mediocre cop is Officer Francisco Garcia. Garcia was the cop who was seen on video with his knee on a man’s neck after punching him several times. Garcia has had multiple lawsuits against him which were settled with tax-payer money. It makes no sense from a civil or financial perspective that Garcia hasn’t been fired.
We don’t want excuses, from de Blasio or Commissioner Dermot Shea (the man who actually said a punch should not be assumed to be excessive). We want answers. Why are the majority of the people summonsed and arrested minorities? Why are people getting arrested for social distancing in the first place? Why are parks uptown closed while downtown parks remain open? What training did the officers go trough to properly enforce social distancing?
But why would they give us answers? We have seen police on film get away with offenses that should have gotten them fired. This isn’t just a de Blasio issue. This goes beyond who’s in charge. The NYPD needs a total overhaul. Their policies and current systems disproportionately effect minority communities. Until we are willing to come to grips with that, this police department will not improve.
Let’s be clear, I’m not saying our community does not have a role to play in this as well. We also must do better. But in a time like this, it is absolutely inexcusable for the NYPD to conduct themselves like this. Minorities are already disproportionately effected by Covid-19. We shouldn’t have to also worry about law enforcement kneeling on our necks because we chose not to sunbathe in the east village.