NEW YORK — Police unions fought Tuesday to block the public release of officer disciplinary records in New York.
In the Media
The New York Police Department is pulling the plug on the “Sentiment Meter,” a multimillion-dollar smartphone polling project used to gauge public reaction to officers and attitudes about safety in the Big Apple, a police official said.
A brainchild of the Brooklyn company ELUCD, the polling methodology was underway by 2017 and pinged about 7,500 smartphones each month to determine how members of the public felt about the job the NYPD was doing.
In the days after the killing of George Floyd, an extraordinary wave of mass protests erupted across the US, with demonstrators setting fire to police buildings and cars, shutting down freeways and bridges and storming city halls and neighborhoods.
Amid familiar chants of Black Lives Matter, a new slogan emerged: “Defund the police.”
It wasn’t even a month old and those in uniform had begun to push back.
On July 14, officials from the Police Benevolent Association, Correction Officers Benevolent Association, the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York and a host of other law enforcement unions filed a lawsuit to block New York City’s government from publishing its planned databases of police misconduct.
In May, just days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the bellicose leader of the city’s police union, described Floyd as a violent criminal, said that the protesters who had gathered to lament his death were terrorists, and complained that they weren’t being treated more roughly by police. Kroll, who has spoken unsentimentally about being involved in three shootings himself, said that he was fighting to get the accused officers reinstated. In the following days, the Kentucky police union rallied around officers who had fatally shot an E.M.T.
In the 18 days after the death of George Floyd, 16 states introduced, amended, or passed various police-reform bills.
We looked at what protesters are asking for and what changes have actually been implemented. While a handful of new policies met demands, most local officials and law enforcement agencies failed to fulfill expectations.
Defunding law enforcement
Lentory Johnson knows what "defund the police" means to her — and she has a perspective based on a deeply personal experience.
Last month, police reform advocates in New York were delivered a victory when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a package of bills that included the repeal of 50-a, a 1976 measure that had allowed police departments to shield officer misconduct records from the public.
When Mayor Bill de Blasio said in late April that he was creating a task force to lead a “fair recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, nestled in his announcement was a brief statement that he also intends to call another Charter Revision Commission. But the mayor hasn’t yet convened that commission, which would be the third to be created while he has been mayor, the second by him alone, and hasn’t explained his rationale for it.
It's been over a month since Black Lives Matter protests started after the police killed George Floyd in May. Since then, protesters in Minneapolis were able to push the city council to disband the police department and begin to reimagine what their security systems will look like.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson was having a blast: One month after securing an uncertain victory that catapulted him toward the apex of New York’s political pyramid, he joined the morning crew at Fox5 for an impromptu, televised dance party as the Groundhog Day weather segment wound down.
He seemed to be sending New Yorkers a message: With boundless energy and joy, he would embody qualities Mayor Bill de Blasio — somber on the lightest of occasions — does not.