35 of the 40 NYPD arrests over social distancing were Black
Four were Hispanic, one was white and all the statistics are reminiscent of the 'stop and frisk' policy from the early 2000s
The New York City Police Department is facing intense public scrutiny over what appears to be racial disparities in the enforcement of social distancing measures.
The New York Times reports that this week, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office released its statistics on social-distancing violations from March 17 through May 4. Of the 40 people arrested, 35 were Black, four were Hispanic, one was white.
The statistics are reminiscent of the racist “stop and frisk” policy that existed under Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In a news conference, the current NYC mayor, Bill de Blasio refuted the comparison.
“What happened with stop and frisk was a systematic, oppressive, unconstitutional strategy that created a new problem much bigger than anything it purported to solve,” he said. “This is the farthest thing from that. This is addressing a pandemic. This is addressing the fact that lives are in danger all the time. By definition, our police department needs to be a part of that because safety is what they do.”
But, some disagree, and others who understand the comparison.
In an exclusive interview with theGrio, New York City public advocate and activist Jumaane Williams, “Some people are saying that social distancing is the new stop and frisk. I kind of reject that. The problem is over-policing and aggressive policing in black and brown communities. They always have a name for it: stop and frisk, social distancing. It will be called something else tomorrow. We have to address what the issue is.”
Earlier this week, video of the violent arrest of 32-year-old, Donni Wright went viral when the man was knocked unconscious by a New York City Police officer.
Referring to the New York Times article, Mayor de Blasio tweeted that the “disparity in the numbers does NOT reflect our values.” He pledged that the city has to do better.
Saving lives in this pandemic is job one. The NYPD uses summonses and arrests to do it.
Most people practice social distancing, with only hundreds of summonses issued over 6 weeks. But the disparity in the numbers does NOT reflect our values.
We HAVE TO do better and we WILL. pic.twitter.com/VFEFV724wU
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 8, 2020