Ten days after the firing of New York City cop Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner was announced, New York Police Department officials say officers are making fewer arrests for minor crimes.
That’s in large part due to a directive from the police union to proceed with “the utmost caution,” New York TV station Fox 5 reported.
New York police made 1,319 fewer arrests in a recent week than they did the same time period last year, the news station reported.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told Fox 5 officers have discretion about whether to make an arrest or not for minor crimes, and he admitted the decision not to make those arrests is sending a message about the handling of Pantaleo’s firing.
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced August 19 that Pantaleo had been fired five years after choking Garner, an unarmed Black man, to death.
He was accused of selling single cigarettes outside a store on Staten Island when Pantaleo placed him in the chokehold while trying to arrest Garner on July 17, 2014.
“They’re upset. I know they’re upset, but they are doing their job as well as they’ve ever done, keeping people safe in this city,” Monahan said of police officers. “I have no fear that they would ever allow anyone to get hurt by not doing their job.”
Pantaleo’s police union, officially called the New York City Police Benevolent Association, has called for the resignation of both O’Neill and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The union unanimously approved resolutions of no confidence in the mayor and police commissioner Wednesday, union President Patrick Lynch said in a news release.
“Today’s votes are an unequivocal indictment of our failed leaders in City Hall and 1 Police Plaza,” Lynch said. “For years, Mayor de Blasio has demonized police officers and undermined our efforts to protect our city.
“For years, Commissioner O’Neill has cravenly acquiesced to the Mayor and his anti-cop allies.”
Lynch went on to call Pantaleo’s termination an “unjust” final straw.
“Both men have displayed an appalling pattern of malfeasance and nonfeasance that disqualifies them from continuing to serve in their current offices,” Lynch said of de Blasio and O’Neill. “Neither can hope to regain the trust or confidence of New York City police officers. They must resign or be fired.”
In an earlier statement on behalf of the union, Lynch warned police officers that the top New York City officials do not have their best interest at heart.
“Police Commissioner O’Neill has made his choice: he has chosen politics and his own self-interest over the police officers he claims to lead,” Lynch said in the statement.