Officers in the two precincts connected to murdered Officers Winjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have virtually stopped issuing tickets, according to a story in the New York Daily News, basically conducting an enormous work stoppage.
The precincts are the 84th, where Liu and Ramos worked, and the 79th, where they were murdered. The News said just one summons was issued in the 84th in the seek since they were killed. There were no summonses written in the 79th. In the previous week leading up to their death, the precincts issued a total of 626 parking, moving and criminal summonses.
In fact, the entire force of 34,000 cops appears to be engaged in the work stoppage, according to News figures. Across the entire city, just 2,128 summons were issued in the past week, compared to 26,512 for the previous week.
Arrests also have plummeted—115 in the past week for drugs, compared to 523 the previous week. Transit arrests have dropped from 662 to 20 and housing arrests fell from 258 to 65.
“Guys are on edge,” an unidentified police supervisor told the newspaper. “They’re still angry at the mayor and they’re not about to do anything they don’t absolutely have to do.”
If the numbers are telling a true story, it is a massive case of insubordination, affecting city revenue and ultimately affecting all city residents. It is, in effect, a paid strike—officers receiving their salaries without doing the jobs they are paid for.
The police force is demonstrating its extreme disrespect for the mayor of the city, showing him that he dare not express sympathy for the darker residents in their midst—even if some of those darker residents happen to be his children.
The city has not seen this level of disrespect since the mayoralty of David Dinkins, the city’s first African-American mayor, who was often at odds with the force in the 1990s after controversial shootings when he would visit the families of victims—taking sides with the enemy, in the eyes of many police officers.
It is also showing disrespect to city residents, who have every right to expect their police force to do its job. If the force feels such little compunction about exhibiting such massive levels of misbehavior, one wonders what kind of message they are getting from the police commissioner. He said he didn’t approve of the turning of their backs on the mayor during Ramos’ funeral. What does he think about them forgetting that they are police officers for the past two weeks?
Perhaps there is a silver lining in a city where the force stopped and frisked millions of Black and Hispanic males over the course of a decade: Black and brown boys could finally walk the streets in a small measure of peace.