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.