UNNECESSARY ARRESTS


A member of Garner’s family confirmed that Eric Garner was frequently harassed by these officers, and it goes much deeper than money. Garner had actually been sexually assaulted by the NYPD, on multiple occasions, according to our sources. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the man who was responsible for Garner’s death, has been sued three times for violating the constitutional rights of other black males in the area, by performing humiliating strip searches and fondling the genitalia of his victims, some in public view.”

BRATTON to ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/bombshell-eric-garners-death-retaliatory-move-nypd/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/04/choke-hold-cop-pantaleo-sued/19899461/
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/30/opinion/police-respect-squandered-in-attacks-on-de-blasio.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/12/the-benefits-of-fewer-nypd-arrests/384126/
The Benefits of Fewer NYPD Arrests
by   /  Dec 31 2014

A funny thing happened in New York City last week: Cops stopped arresting people. Not altogether, of course—that would be anarchy. But since last Monday, the number of arrests in America’s largest city plummeted by two-thirds compared to the previous year. The decline is a conscious slowdown by New York’s police force to protest City Hall’s perceived lack of support for law enforcement. NYPD officers and union leaders have been at odds with Mayor Bill de Blasio in the wake of the Eric Garner case and the killings of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos this month. In their latest move, officers have begun a “virtual work stoppage” throughout the city by making fewer low-level arrests and issuing fewer citations.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, New York’s largest police union, urged its members not to make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” according to the New York Post‘s report.

[The slowdown] has helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show. Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame. Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent—from 4,831 to 300. Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241. Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau—which are part of the overall number—dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.

Although safety is cited as the reason for the police union’s move, political considerations are central. “This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake,” a police source told the Post. “Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.” The NYPD slowdown also comes amid protracted contract negotiations between police unions and the mayor’s office. The Post, which enthusiastically championed the NYPD during this year’s turmoil, portrayed this slowdown in near-apocalyptic terms—an early headline for the article above even read “Crime wave engulfs New York following execution of cops.” But the police union’s phrasing—officers shouldn’t make arrests “unless absolutely necessary”—begs the question: How many unnecessary arrests was the NYPD making before now?

Policing quality doesn’t necessarily increase with policing quantity, as New York’s experience with stop-and-frisk demonstrated. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg asserted that the controversial tactic of warrantless street searches “keeps New York City safe.” De Blasio ended the program soon after succeeding him, citing its discriminatory impact on black and Hispanic residents. Stop-and-frisk incidents plunged from 685,724 stops in 2011 to just 38,456 in the first three-quarters of 2014 as a result. If stop-and-frisk had caused the ongoing decline in New York’s crime rate, its near-absence would logically halt or even reverse that trend. But the city seems to be doing just fine without it: Crime rates are currently at two-decade lows, with homicide down 7 percent and robberies down 14 percent since 2013.

Arrests plummeted 66% but I just looked outside and nothing is on fire and the sun is still out and everything. Weird. — allisonkilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) Dec 30, 2014

The slowdown also challenges the fundamental tenets of broken-windows policing, a controversial strategy championed by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. According to the theory, which first came to prominence in a 1982 article in The Atlantic, “quality-of-life” crimes like vandalism and vagrancy help normalize criminal behavior in neighborhoods and precede more violent offenses. Tackling these low-level offenses therefore helps prevent future ones. The theory’s critics dispute its effectiveness and contend that broken-windows policing simply criminalizes the young, the poor, and the homeless. Public drinking and urination may be unseemly, but they’re hardly threats to life, liberty, or public order. (The Post also noted a decline in drug arrests, but their comparison of 2013 and 2014 rates is misleading. The mayor’s office announced in November that police would stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession and issue tickets instead. Even before the slowdown began, marijuana-related arrests had declined by 61 percent.) If the NYPD can safely cut arrests by two-thirds, why haven’t they done it before? 

NYPD Cop Threatens Innocent Man By Saying “Don’t Make Me Fear For My Safety”

“#NYPD says they are only making arrests now when “absolutely necessary” Admitting arrests are over 80% unnecessary. “— Chris Rock (@ozchrisrockJanuary 1, 2015

The human implications of this question are immense. Fewer arrests for minor crimes logically means fewer people behind bars for minor crimes. Poorer would-be defendants benefit the most; three-quarters of those sitting in New York jails are only there because they can’t afford bail. Fewer New Yorkers will also be sent to Rikers Island, where endemic brutality against inmates has led to resignations, arrests, and an imminent federal civil-rights intervention over the past six months. A brush with the American criminal-justice system can be toxic for someone’s socioeconomic and physical healthThe NYPD might benefit from fewer unnecessary arrests, too. Tensions between the mayor and the police unions originally intensified after a grand jury failed to indict a NYPD officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner during an arrest earlier this year. Garner’s arrest wasn’t for murder or arson or bank robbery, but on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes—hardly the most serious of crimes. Maybe the NYPD’s new “absolutely necessary” standard for arrests would have produced a less tragic outcome for Garner then. Maybe it will for future Eric Garners too.


“I can think of 3 reasons why the turned their backs on mayor ” —  (@ozchrisrock) / Dec 30, 2014

BROKEN WINDOWS TRUE COSTS
http://gawker.com/nypd-commissioner-to-cops-start-working-again-1678851149
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/nyregion/quiet-in-the-court-drop-in-arrests-slows-new-yorks-busy-legal-system.html
http://www.wnyc.org/story/de-blasios-press-conference-nypd/
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/06/broken-windows-and-new-york-police/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/11/broken-windows-eric-garner-protests_n_6311434.html
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-police-in-america-are-becoming-illegitimate-20141205
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-nypds-work-stoppage-is-surreal-20141231
In an alternate universe, the New York Police might have just solved the national community-policing controversy
by   / December 31, 2014

Brace yourselves for a weird night. There might be a little extra drama when the ball drops in Times Square, thanks to one of the more confusing political protests in recent memory. On a night when more than a million potentially lawbreaking, probably tipsy revelers will be crowding the most densely-populated city blocks in America, all eyes will be on the city cops stuck with holiday duty. Why? Because the New York City Police are in the middle of a slowdown. The New York Post is going so far as to call it a “virtual work stoppage.”

Furious at embattled mayor Bill de Blasio, and at what Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch calls a “hostile anti-police environment in the city,” the local officers are simply refusing to arrest or ticket people for minor offenses – such arrests have dropped off a staggering 94 percent, with overall arrests plunging 66 percent. If you’re wondering exactly what that means, the Post is reporting that the protesting police have decided to make arrests “only when they have to.” (Let that sink in for a moment. Seriously, take 10 or 15 seconds).

Substantively that mostly means a steep drop-off in parking tickets, but also a major drop in tickets for quality-of-life offenses like carrying open containers of alcohol or public urination. My first response to this news was confusion. I get why the police are protesting – they’re pissed at Mayor de Blasio, and more on that in a minute – but this sort of “protest” pulls this story out of the standard left-right culture war script it had been following and into surreal territory. I don’t know any police officer anywhere who would refuse to arrest a truly dangerous criminal as part of a PBA-led political gambit. So the essence of this protest seems now to be about trying to hit de Blasio where it hurts, i.e. in the budget, without actually endangering the public. So this police protest, unwittingly, is leading to the exposure of the very policies that anger so many different constituencies about modern law-enforcement tactics.

First, it shines a light on the use of police officers to make up for tax shortfalls using ticket and citation revenue. Then there’s the related (and significantly more important) issue of forcing police to make thousands of arrests and issue hundreds of thousands of summonses when they don’t “have to.”

The premise for Ellen’s #DanceDare is very simple: dance behind someone, but without them noticing.”

It’s incredibly ironic that the police have chosen to abandon quality-of-life actions like public urination tickets and open-container violations, because it’s precisely these types of interactions that are at the heart of the Broken Windows polices that so infuriate residents of so-called “hot spot” neighborhoods. In an alternate universe where this pseudo-strike wasn’t the latest sortie in a standard-issue right-versus left political showdown, one could imagine this protest as a progressive or even a libertarian strike, in which police refused to work as backdoor tax-collectors and/or implement Minority Report-style pre-emptive policing policies, which is what a lot of these Broken Windows-type arrests amount to. But that’s not what’s going on here.

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing enlightened about this slowdown, although I’m sure there are thousands of cops who are more than happy to get a break from Broken Windows policing. I’ve met more than a few police in the last few years who’ve complained vigorously about things like the “empty the pad” policies in some precincts, where officers were/are told by superiors to fill predetermined summons quotas every month. It would be amazing if this NYPD protest somehow brought parties on all sides to a place where we could all agree that policing should just go back to a policy of officers arresting people “when they have to.” Because it’s wrong to put law enforcement in the position of having to make up for budget shortfalls with parking tickets, and it’s even more wrong to ask its officers to soak already cash-strapped residents of hot spot neighborhoods with mountains of summonses as part of a some stats-based crime-reduction strategy.

Both policies make people pissed off at police for the most basic and understandable of reasons: if you’re running into one, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to end up opening your wallet. Your average summons for a QOL offense costs more than an ordinary working person makes in a day driving a bus, waiting tables, or sweeping floors. So every time you nail somebody, you’re literally ruining their whole day. If I were a police officer, I’d hate to be taking money from people all day long, too. Christ, that’s worse than being a dentist. So under normal circumstances, this slowdown wouldn’t just make sense, it would be heroic. Unfortunately, this protest is not about police refusing to shake people down for money on principle. For one thing, it’s simply another public union using its essential services leverage to hold the executive (and by extension, the taxpayer) hostage in a negotiation. In this case the public union doesn’t want higher pay or better benefits (in which case it wouldn’t have the support from the political right it has now – just the opposite), it merely wants “support” from the Mayor.

says creates “atmosphere of distrust”. Pretty sure choking a man to death & getting away with it caused that, not the Mayor.() December 30, 2014

On another level, however, this is just the latest salvo in an ongoing and increasingly vicious culture-war mess that is showing no signs of abating. Most everyone across the country knows the background by now. The police in New York are justifiably furious about the Saturday, December 20th ambush murder/assassination of two of their officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, at the hands of a rampage-killer from Baltimore named Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Brinsley, who shot his girlfriend and promised on Instagram to put “wings on pigs” before coming to New York and doing the evil deed, had cited the killing of Eric Garner in his rants, saying among other things, “They took 1 of ours…let’s take 2 of theirs.” According to the transitive theory of culpability so popular in our left-right media echo chamber, Brinsley’s monstrous act put de Blasio in the political jackpot, since both had expressed dismay about the death of Garner, an African-American man from Staten Island who died this past summer in a struggle with police over a 75-cent cigarette. De Blasio of course never urged anyone to put “wings on pigs.” And his comment about the actual grand jury decision – that it was something “many in our city did not want” – was really just a simple statement of fact.

But de Blasio also clumsily personalized the incident, talking about his own half-black son Dante, saying that he and his wife Chirlane had had to “talk to Dante. . .about the dangers that he may face.” Then he added, “It should be self-evident, but our history requires us to say that black lives matter.” As maximally uncontroversial as that sounds, the local tabloids went nuts over de Blasio’s remarks, bashing the boss of the nation’s biggest police force for quoting a globally-surging protest hashtag and talking about how he has to teach his own son to be wary of police.


“Exiting a New York nightclub sometime before 1am in 2012 he was involved in an altercation with white cops who pushed him up against his Escalade and took him away in handcuffs. “If I was white, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Harold Thomas, formerly of the elite Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Then Ramos and Liu were murdered in a horrible tragedy that will have lasting implications for people on all sides of the political spectrum. The thing is, there are really two things going on here. One is an ongoing bitter argument about race and blame that won’t be resolved in this country anytime soon, if ever. Dig a millimeter under the surface of the Garner case, Ferguson, the Liu-Ramos murders, and you’ll find vicious race-soaked debates about who’s to blame for urban poverty, black crime, police violence, immigration, overloaded prisons and a dozen other nightmare issues.

But the other thing is a highly specific debate over a very resolvable controversy not about police as people, but about how police are deployed. Most people, and police most of all, agree that the best use of police officers is police work. They shouldn’t be collecting backdoor taxes because politicians are too cowardly to raise them, and they shouldn’t be pre-emptively busting people in poor neighborhoods because voters don’t have the patience to figure out some other way to deal with our dying cities. This police protest, ironically, could have shined a light on all of that. Instead, it’s just more fodder for our ongoing hate-a-thon. Happy New Year, America.

“The NYPD’s failure to arrest and cite people will also end up costing the city huge amounts of money that it won’t be able to seize from its citizens, which is likely the real point. That’s the “punishment” for the de Blasio administration for not supporting them. One has to wonder if they even understand, or care, that their “work stoppage” is giving police state critics exactly what they want—less harsh enforcement of the city’s laws”

NON-QUOTA QUOTAS PROVOKE REVENUE COLLECTORS STRIKE
http://nypost.com/2015/01/11/no-time-off-for-nypd-until-cops-get-back-to-work/
http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/06/news/economy/nypd-tickets/index.html
http://ibo.nyc.ny.us/cgi-park/?p=733
http://reason.com/blog/2014/12/30/nypd-punishes-city-by-not-citing-arresti
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/31/new-york-police-engageinvirtualworkstoppageamidstrisingtension.html 
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/is-there-only-a-thin-blue-line-separating-us-cities-from-mayhem/article/2557964
Is there only a thin blue line separating US cities from mayhem?
by Timothy P. Carney / 12/29/2014

“If we had fewer cops, more reticent cops, less well-armed cops, or cops more constrained by stricter rules of engagement, would violence and crime in U.S. cities skyrocket? If the police took a week off, would we become “Mad Max”? Pat Buchanan seems to suggest this in his latest column. Here’s the relevant passage:

[W]hat does it say about our country that, if the police took a week off, our cities would descend into mayhem. What does it say about the character of the people upon whom our democracy depends? Would the America of the Founding Fathers have descended into mayhem or anarchy if police were not a huge and visible presence? Would the America of the 1940s or 1950s?

Buchanan’s premise, as I read it, is that our cities are on the verge of bedlam, with only the cops keeping us from falling off the cliff. I’m pretty unconvinced by that notion. When I asked one NYPD friend about this, he pointed me to Chicago, and this blog post, which cites too few cops as the No. 1 reason of Rahm Emanuel’s murder problem.

Also, the cops in Chicago have dumber tactics, according to this post. So, if Chicago’s inferior police force is a leading reason for many more murders, then Buchanan’s premise might be true. But Buchanan’s column has a very interesting quote from D.C.’s top cop:

In D.C. last week, an exasperated Police Chief Cathy Lanier said: “All of these protests that are blocking traffic, it’s pulling police officers out of the neighborhoods that need the police the most. … So how do I prevent homicides and shootings and violent crimes and robberies and burglaries right before the holidays if all my cops are directing traffic around 30 guys that want to be out there at 11 o’clock at night laying in the middle of Chinatown?”

“This gets at the heart of the Buchanan premise: when cops aren’t able to be in the neighborhoods, everyone is more at danger of getting murdered. Except it didn’t happen.


NYPD (Quietly) Credits Occupy For Helping Fight Post-Sandy Crime {photo Kirby Desmarais}

In the week of Dec. 13 through Dec. 20 — the week when most of these protests happened, dragging MPD away from the neighborhoods — no homicides were reported. Not a single one. Only one homicide happened in D.C. in the two weeks following the grand jury decision to not indict the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold — police say it happened on a Tuesday morning. As a NYC cop pointed out to me, on Sept. 11, 2001, there was no upswing in crime. Nor immediately after Hurricane Sandy.” We obviously need police. But if anyone believes that our police, in their large numbers, their liberty to engage, and their military-style arsenals, are the only guards against bedlam, they might be misguided.”


I Quant NY’s heat map showing how the 3,800 police lawsuits were distributed in 2013

INDIVIDUAL OFFICER LIABILITY INSURANCE
http://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/claimstat/
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/opinion/better-governing-through-data.html
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/alarming-chilling-disgusting-ways-describe-investigations-nypd-corruption/
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/isolated-incidents-lawsuit-filed-nypd-2-12-hours/

New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer, recently released a map of all lawsuits filed against the NYPD in 2013. This graphic representation of police misconduct was then analyzed and compiled into a compelling report which illustrates the dire need of reform. The report put out by the comptroller’s officer, titled Claimstat, shows that the lawsuits are derived “primarily of allegations of police misconduct, civil rights violations, and injury and/or damage from accidents involving police vehicles.” The report was put out in July and is used as a way of using data-driven methods to try and save money.

However, it doesn’t look like counting the incidents of police brutality is doing anything to save the city money, as Stringer’s original report said that the 2015 budget would have to include $674 million for settlements and judgments (an amount greater that the budget for the Parks Department, Department of Aging and New York Public Library combined). The move to release this data was done in an effort to apply more transparency to the NYPD. However, as quantitative analyst Ben Wellington points out, the comptroller gave us only a map and failed to release the underlying data in regards to these lawsuits. Wellington, who runs the NYC data blog I Quant NY, then unlocked the data contained in the Claimstat report and organized it by location, to give us a better understanding.

I started by creating a heat map, showing how the 3,800 police lawsuits were distributed in 2013. While these lawsuits were present throughout the five boroughs, the map shows that they were anything but evenly distributed.

The largest hotspot in the map is clearly in the Bronx, but there are others.  A look at the number of lawsuits filed per one-thousand residents in each borough also shows that Bronx residents were more than two times as likely to file a suit than residents from Brooklyn and more than six times more likely than residents of Staten Island:

image

I Quant NY also took a look at Eric Garner’s neighborhood, finding that there were 109 lawsuits that originated in Staten Island and three within a two block radius of Garner’s home, marked by the red star on the map below.

image

3,800 lawsuits may not seem like that large of a number, but we must take into account that these are actual lawsuits from people who are able to find an attorney to represent them. Many times over, victims of police misconduct are unable to secure council for the simple fact that it is their word against the officers. As the Free Thought Project reported, there are literally tens of thousands of complaints filed against the NYPD every year and this number is on the rise. If these staggering numbers show us anything, it’s that the time for discussing solutions is well overdue.


See Dog Deaths by Police Officers 2011-2013 or https://i-lawsuit.com/puppycide/

A sure fire way to force police accountability would be to have officers carry their own personal liability insurance. Every time a victim of police brutality is awarded monetary damages, it is the innocent tax payers who are held responsible, not the individual police officer. If the individual’s job was directly effected by the quality of their service, you could rest assured that excessive force claims would plummet as this would effectively get rid of problem officers who would have to either stop being a problem, or become uninsurable, thereby becoming unemployable.

Zooming into that location more specifically, we can see that in 2013 alone there were three lawsuits filed within two blocks, including one across the street at 201 Bay Street.  (Garner’s death was at 202 Bay Street and 2014 data is unavailable.)  In fact the NTA where the incident occurred, Stapleton/Rosebank, had the second highest lawsuit rate on Staten Island, (though 36th overall in NYC).

PROTESTOR DEMANDS (besides BRATTON’s RETIREMENT)
http://www.thisstopstoday.org/11daysofaction
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/01/02/3607516/nypd-work-stoppage/
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/supreme-court-rules-citizens-protection-violations-cops-ignorant-law/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/11/eric-garner-protests-demands_n_6308956.html

“The full list of demands from #ThisStopsToday is:

— Mayor de Blasio should insist on full accountability for all NYPD officers responsible for killing Eric Garner and Akai Gurley and all officers who brutalize New Yorkers.

— Department of Justice should convene grand juries to federally indict officers responsible for the killing of Eric Garner, as well as other NYC cases such as Ramarley Graham.

— Governor Cuomo should issue an executive order directing the Office of the Attorney General to serve as special prosecutor in cases involving civilians killed by police officers.

— Governor Cuomo should veto legislation (S7801/A9853) that would allow New York police unions to make police disciplinary policies subject to contract negotiations.

— New York City should end the NYPD Commissioner’s exclusive authority over disciplinary decisions for officers in cases of abuse, misconduct, excessive and deadly force.

— Mayor de Blasio should end broken windows, and other discriminatory and abusive policing practices. This includes enforcement of low-level offenses, discriminatory arrests for violations (non-criminal offenses) and enforcement of possession of small amounts of marijuana; blanket surveillance of Muslim communities; and political activists.

— Mayor de Blasio should work with the City Council to pass the Right to Know Act to protect New Yorkers’ rights and improve daily interactions between NYPD officers and New Yorkers.

— Court-ordered stop-and-frisk Monitor Zimroth and Mayor de Blasio should give organizations led by and for communities impacted by discriminatory and abusive policing a formal role in NYPD reform.

— The Department of Justice should launch an investigation into broken windows policing and the use of force policies and practices of the NYPD.

— NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure should issue a report on use of deadly and other excessive force, to include review of disciplinary outcomes in these incidents.

— The NYPD should publish quarterly and annual reports of summons and misdemeanor arrests, as well as use of force, based on race, gender, age, precinct, and other demographic data.”

PETTY CRIME
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/12/applying-broken-windows-to-the-police/383490/
https://www.popehat.com/2014/12/04/broken-windows-and-broken-lives/
Broken Windows And Broken Lives
by   /  December 4, 2014

The Broken Windows Theory led to an era of aggressive policing of petty offenses — which in turn led to increased confrontation between police and civilians. The theory depends upon the proposition that tolerating bad conduct, however petty, sets social norms, and that bad conduct steadily escalates to meet those norms.

Second, at the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing.

Let’s take this as true for a moment. If tolerating broken windows leads to more broken windows and escalating crime, what impact does tolerating police misconduct have? Under the Broken Windows Theory, what impact could it have but to signal to all police that scorn for rights, unjustified violence, and discrimination are acceptable norms? Under Broken Windows Theory, what could be the result but more scorn, more violence, and more discrimination?

Apparently we’ve decided that we won’t tolerate broken windows any more. But we haven’t found the fortitude to do something about broken people. To put it plainly: just as neighborhood thugs could once break windows with impunity, police officers can generally kill with impunity. They can shoot unarmed men and lie about it. They can roll up and execute a child with a toy as casually as one might in Grand Theft Auto. They can bumble around opening doors with their gun hand and kill bystanders, like a character in a dark farce, with little fear of serious consequences. They can choke you to death for getting a little mouthy about selling loose cigarettes. They can shoot you because they aren’t clear on who the bad guy is, and they can shoot you because they’re terrible shots, and they can shoot you because they saw something that might be a weapon in your hand — something that can be, frankly, any fucking thing at all, including nothing.

What are we doing about this? Are we pushing back against unwarranted uses of force and deprivations of rights, to prevent them from becoming self-perpetuating norms? No. We’re not pursuing the breakers of windows. If anything, we are permitting the system steadily to entrench their protected right to act that way. We give them second and third and fourth chances. We pretend that they have supernatural powers of crime detection even when science shows that’s bullshit. We fight desperately to support their word even when they are proven liars. We sneer that “criminals have too many rights,” then give the armed representatives of our governmentstunning levels of procedural protections when they abuse or even kill us. Do we really believe in Broken Windows Theory? If we do, how can we be surprised at more casual law enforcement racism, more Americans dead at the hands of police, more matter-of-fact violations of our constitutional rights? We left the windows broken. We helped set the norm. They’re just following it.

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