Adding To The NYPD Tension Problem

Maybe the NYPD should check in with its PR department once in a while. Last week at Eric Garner’s funeral–the Staten Island man who died as a result of a police chokehold–police arrested a man who wasn’t doing anything illegal. While Calvin Bryant did indeed have an open warrant, was it really necessary for police to arrest him at Garner’s funeral while he was peacefully protesting police brutality in front of his two small children?

“Why on earth choose this moment?” asks Scott Hechinger, one of the lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services working on Bryant’s case. “There’s about a million other ways to arrest this guy. Get him at his house the day before, the day after, any time over the last four years. Why choose the funeral service—the service that they caused—to inflame tensions? The timing just makes you wonder: Is this to make a statement?”

In addition to the warrant, Bryant suffered a blow to the head and was charged with resisting arrest. Bryant was allegedly holding the holds of his children and he couldn’t get his hands up, but does that equal resisting arrest?

Bottom line: the NYPD has a perception problem. People don’t trust them. Actions like this will only make the tension worse.

Team Blackness also discussed Richmond, California’s black, latina, lesbian vice mayor; why companies should hire more women; and the university president who took a pay cut to give minimum wage workers a raise.

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61 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Why on earth choose this moment?”

    Because they’re sending a message, particularly to the communities of color and economic disadvantage. Stay in your place, peasants. The 1% will not tolerate you acting like you have any rights at all.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    The timing just makes you wonder: Is this to make a statement?”

    I can’t see any other reason.

    Site maintenance issue: The TWIB podcast link has started causing problems; the sticher part runs a script ( http://cloudfront.assets.stitc.....07434934:1) that temporarily makes my browser freeze up.

  3. 3
    Waynski says:

    You would think someone in the chain of command would have told them not to do this, but they’re cops, most of whom were either bullied in high school, or were the bullies themselves. And none of them grew up. Arresting the guy at his friend’s funeral?l — the friend the NYPD killed btw — that was just gratuitously stupid. If the NYPD is NY’s finest, Mr. De Blasio has a lot of human resources problems to fix.

  4. 4
    🚸 Martin says:

    The NYPD is like the Israel of public services!

    /runs away

  5. 5
    Mandalay says:

    …and the university president who took a pay cut to give minimum wage workers a raise.

    Yes, that was pretty cool….

    Dr. Raymond Burse, the interim president of Kentucky State University, has given up more than $90,000 from his yearly salary, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The money from the pay cut will instead go to university employees earning minimum wage, improving the hourly rate from $7.25 an hour to $10.25…

    Burse’s salary dropped from $349,869 to $259,745. The decision to increase the hourly minimum wage for university employees will continue beyond Burse’s tenure as interim president, as the university is expected to adopt the rate of $10.25 per hour full-time.

  6. 6
    aimai says:

    There’s a really bad article by Malcolm Gladwell this week in the New Yorker that ends abruptly but one of the points he makes is that the treatment of the Mafia by the Police and the treatment of AA criminals/offenders is entirely different and leads specific and repeated harms to the community. He is reviewing two different books–an old sociological study of the mafia community and one criminal family over time and a new ethnography of two crack dealers in their community. He specifically points towards this kind of everyday, low level, aggression in the form of issuing warrants and citations and arrests for things that in the Italian community were simply ignored. Ignoring petty crime, leaving families free to live, work and police themselves, enabled the Italian community as a whole to rise up economically by engaging in criminal acts and also successfully pushing their kids through college and into the middle class in regular employment. Meanwhile, although he doesn’t draw the conclusion, the kids the ethnographer follows in the later study of the AA community, simply don’t have a chance. Most of the men around them will spend most of their time locked up and the kids themselves are railroaded out of school and into prison in record time.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🚸 Martin: Obviously, you’re a Self Hating Cop, or an Anti-Copite.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @aimai: Italians are, nowadays, for all practical purposes, white. Which they were not before. African Americans, on the other hand, will always, always be ni*CLANGS*.

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    Bryant was allegedly holding the holds of his children and he couldn’t get his hands up, but does that equal resisting arrest?

    He didn’t do what the police wanted before they told him. For a person of color, especially one who’s making them look bad by protesting, that constitutes resisting arrest.

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    He didn’t do what the police wanted before they told him.

    Emphasis for laser precision accuracy.

  11. 11
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Exactly. Don’t you dare speak up, of they will come after you, your family, and anyone else associated with you.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    When there’s a culture of brutality in a police force, as there seems to be in the NYPD, doesn’t it become a systemic violation of civil rights and thus a matter for the US Department of Justice? Or do these incidents not rise to that level?

  13. 13
    C.V. Danes says:

    @aimai: The police have always been the natural enemy of the poor, and they hold a special hatred for blacks, poor or not.

  14. 14
    Citizen_X says:

    Unfortunately, I think this is the NYPD PR Department.

    The NYPD brand identity: fuck you, you fucking fuck. :-(

  15. 15
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Amir Khalid: That would presume that we had a Justice Department that actually, you know, took justice seriously. But then, depending on their perspective and which master they report to, perhaps they feel that justice was served.

  16. 16
    kc says:

    Wait. The NYPD arrested someone AT ERIC GARNER’S FUNERAL?

    They need to be reined in now.

  17. 17
    aimai says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yes, but actually some of this difference started early when whiteness was up for grabs (I’m reading Whiteness of a Different Color right now). The main difference, aside from racism and history of policing is that the NY cops were paid off by the mafia while they aren’t allowing themselves to be bribed or aren’t being bribed by the major AA criminals–or the bribes aren’t working and don’t cover the entire community.

  18. 18
    catclub says:

    Meanwhile: From the Grauniad

    “Iraq is spiralling out of control,” said Ali Khedery, the former longest-serving US official in Baghdad. “The centrifugal forces are spinning so quickly. They are on one timeline and Washington is on another. I am beyond concerned.”

    Khedery, who reported to five US ambassadors and three US central command generals and is now chairman of the Dubai-based consultancy Dragoman Partners, said: “Everybody is retreating to their corners. And there is no credible international actor that I can see that is trying to bring it together again.

    “It definitely is an existential threat to the Iraqi government and I think it represents yet another manifestation of the disintegration of Iraq as we know it.

    “Iranian overreach, the genocide in Syria, [Nouri] al-Maliki’s consolidation of power in a very sectarian way, have all led to the disillusionment, the disenfranchisement of the Sunni Arabs, who have fatally, but perhaps understandably, chosen to consummate a deal with the devil. Now we are locked in a race to the bottom.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    At least here in Los Angeles, the police corruption trend seems to be the police taking over the action themselves rather than merely accepting bribes to look the other way. Given that our damaging policing model has spread all over the US, I wouldn’t be surprised if our corruption model has done the same thing.

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    @C.V. Danes:
    This would seem like the sort of thing US AG Holder would take seriously, not just because he’s a black man himself but more importantly because the DoJ under him has taken the protection of civil rights somewhat more seriously.

  21. 21
    Josie says:

    One might wonder if they are trying to push folks into a less than peaceful protest so that they could say, “See, these people are dangerous and we are doing what we must to keep them in line.”

  22. 22
    lol says:

    A modicum of justice for a victim of American gun culture:

    A jury convicted a suburban Detroit homeowner of second-degree murder and manslaughter on Thursday in the killing of a drunk, unarmed woman on his porch last year, rejecting his claim that he was afraid for his life and had acted in self-defense.

  23. 23
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Had a friend who was in the NYPD very briefly a few years ago. As racist as you think it is, the reality is worse.

  24. 24
    Paul in KY says:

    To me, you are stupid, if you go out in public knowing you have an active bench warrant. He gave the police the happys over being able to arrest him there. Have your people who don’t have an active bench warrant protest.

  25. 25
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Amir Khalid: It would be better for de Blasio to step in and bring this foolishness to an end, but we shall see.

  26. 26
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mandalay: Dr. Burse is a pretty cool dude.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Amir Khalid: I have seen reports on TV that the DOJ is keeping a “close eye” on this. Given our system, the state generally has first crack at a case like this. If they don’t pursue it or if they half-ass it, the feds may step in.

  28. 28
    aimai says:

    @Paul in KY: I don’t think people always know that there are warrants out for their arrest. And the police can always contact him and ask him to turn himself in–isn’t that a courtesy that is extended to white, upper class, criminals?

  29. 29
    Paul in KY says:

    @aimai: If he didn’t know he had a warrant out, then he’s not stupid & the police were being total & complete assholes. They were assholes anyway, with the bench warrant, but they like being assholes & if he knew about the warrant, he was just teeing it up for them.

    Thank you for the clarification, I’ve never had those kinds of dealings with the police, so I was not aware of that fact (bench warrants being issued & you don’t know about them until they grab you).

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    @aimai:

    isn’t that a courtesy that is extended to white, upper class, criminals?

    Offer most emphatically does not apply to minorities uppity enough to make the police look bad. Probably wouldn’t apply to upper class whites who made the police look bad.

    ETA: The police certainly care about white vs brown and black, but they care most about blue vs. the world.

  31. 31
    Mandalay says:

    @catclub:

    Khedery, who reported to five US ambassadors and three US central command generals and is now chairman of the Dubai-based consultancy Dragoman Partners

    Given the source’s credentials, I’ll take his opinions with a very large pinch of salt.

  32. 32
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    Meanwhile across the Hudson: Obama made me do it!

    Helmetta cop resigns after being caught on video saying Constitution doesn’t apply to him.

    And who knew there even is a place called “Helmetta”? Is that some kind of code for Motorcyclecopland?

  33. 33
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Roger Moore:

    they care most about blue vs. the world

    People like that plainly don’t belong in a police uniform; such an attitude turns the police into one more criminal gang, only with badges and legal powers. I recognise the difficulty here is that the culture perpetuates itself: police recruits are chosen by serving police officers, who after a career in that culture wind up picking those most like themselves.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    From the article:

    Carleton Burkley, a retired NYPD detective turned police-reform advocate, says he’s encountered Bryant before at rallies and demonstrations, and Bryant has a reputation for stirring crowds up after police killings. “I’m not telling you that for doing that, people should target him,” Burkley says. “But I am saying the police are known to target people who do that, because they’re trying to send a message: ‘We know who you are. We’re watching.’” (emphasis mine)

    I guess that, while Bryant was expressing his free speech rights, the cops decided to express theirs.

  35. 35
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: There are towns in Jersey so small you can hit a 3-wood across them….

  36. 36
    maya says:

    It wasn’t always this way in NYC. I will remember, fondly, my weekly encounters with Officers Toody & Muldoon.

  37. 37
    Suffern ACE says:

    @aimai: I didn’t when I was arrested.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    It’s becoming more and more clear that the problems with police in this country will *not* be solved without violence.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    @Paul in KY: I have a friend that is a detective in the warrants and fugitives division. He solves most of his cases over the telephone with a simple “hey you got a warrant for your arrest”, some basic courtesy, and a willingness to talk.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    @catclub: and? As far as I can tell, the elected government is not acting very concerned about the situation. Seriously. They are more concerned with keeping what little power they have left. So why should we be concerned.

  43. 43
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Yatsuno: speaking of dishonest men in uniform.

  44. 44
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Yatsuno: Obama’s going to be busy with the veto pen for a couple years

  45. 45
    Luthe says:

    Does anyone else find it suspicious the degree of NYPD asshole behavior has increased with the start of de Blasio’s term and the end of stop-and-frisk? It’s almost as if they are trying to make the mayor look bad. I wonder why… /sarcasm

  46. 46
    Yatsuno says:

    @SatanicPanic: As much as it galls me, there is one saviour in this mess: Schweitzer. He could theoretically get the nomination & have the star power to still win it. Even then it will be tough, but with Grimes killing the Turtle & Nunn having more than a decent chance, it may be still okay. Oh and Kagan & Pryor are still leading as of right now.

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    So why should we be concerned.

    We should be concerned because ISIS are a bunch of really awful people who are oppressing the residents of the areas they control We should also be concerned because their territory is likely to become a safe haven for terrorists. Neither of those things is necessarily sufficient grounds for military action, but they are certainly enough to be concerned about.

  48. 48
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Yatsuno: This is true. I’m not giving up hope yet

  49. 49
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Yatsuno: Wrote that one off a long time ago.

  50. 50
    Mandalay says:

    @Yatsuno:

    As much as it galls me, there is one saviour in this mess: Schweitzer.

    The two biggest shitstains in the Democratic Party are Walsh and Schweitzer.

    Two vile, self-serving jerks.

    Thanks Montana.

  51. 51
    Suffern ACE says:

    So I guess the rule is just because they sell air guns at target, it doesn’t mean they want you to buy them.

  52. 52
    Mandalay says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    So I guess the rule is just because they sell air guns at target, it doesn’t mean they want you to buy them.

    This reminds me of an old riddle:

    If a bear walks one mile south, turns left and walks one mile to the east and then turns left again and walks one mile north and arrives at its original position, what is the color of the bear ?

    So here’s my riddle:

    If a customer in Walmart is killed by the police, and within 24 hours the police chief is saying that the “quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers”, what is the color is the dead man?

  53. 53
    CB says:

    “Bottom line: the NYPD has a perception problem.”
    I think they have an action problem, in that too often they take actions that kill people.
    No amount of PR lipstick can beautify that pig…

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mandalay:

    If a bear walks one mile south, turns left and walks one mile to the east and then turns left again and walks one mile north and arrives at its original position, what is the color of the bear ?

    White.

    If a customer in Walmart is killed by the police, and within 24 hours the police chief is saying that the “quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers”, what is the color is the dead man?

    Black.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Worst part is, because the police panicked everyone, two people died:

    During the incident, customer Angela D. Williams, 37, of Fairborn, suffered a medical emergency while exiting Walmart and died a short time later at Beavercreek’s Soin Medical Center. Williams’ co-workers at Villa Springfield nursing home said Williams was going to get married on Saturday.

    ETA: Sorry, just realized my info is from this story, not the one originally linked to.

  56. 56
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    There’s stuff the story doesn’t make clear. What were the police officers doing in the Walmart: were they there as customers, were they on patrol, had they been called to some disturbance there? Don’t the toy guns sold at Walmart have an orange-tipped barrel to distinguish them from real guns? Why did the police think a customer holding a toy was a threat?

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    The article I linked to seems to indicate that it may have been an air gun, which was the only kind of gun that would have been easily accessible to a customer (basically, a BB gun).

    And, frankly, this kind of incident is why you’ll never see me urging African-Americans to open carry — a white guy fooling around with a BB gun would never have been killed by police. Ever.

  58. 58
    Sad_Dem says:

    @Mnemosyne: A while ago in the great LA area, a drunk white guy named Doug Zerby went to visit a friend at an apartment building. The friend wasn’t home, so the drunk guy sat in a lawn chair outside, got bored, and started going pew pew pew with a spray nozzle. A neighbor called the cops, who surrounded the drunk guy and shot him to death.

  59. 59
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @raven: Peace? Who gives a shit about peace? I want “police won’t arbitrarily murder people for no reason because they know there will be consequences”. If the legal system won’t provide consequences for their actions, those consequences need to come from somewhere else.

    There’s a reason police treated Occupy protesters so differently than Second Amendment and Tea Party protesters. Guns and who had them.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Sad_Dem:

    I’m not saying that white guys never get shot for stupid reasons. I’m saying that a white guy in Wal-Mart playing with a gun would not be shot by police for doing it.

  61. 61
    Paul in KY says:

    @Cassidy: Sounds like a smart police officer.

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