Tensions are increasingly flaring in black and Hispanic neighborhoods over officers’ enforcement of social-distancing rules, leading some prominent elected officials to charge that the New York Police Department is engaging in a racist double standard as it struggles to shift to a public health role in the coronavirus crisis.
The arrests of black and Hispanic residents, several of them filmed and posted online, occurred on the same balmy days that other photographs circulated showing police officers handing out masks to mostly white visitors at parks in Lower Manhattan, Williamsburg and Long Island City. Video captured crowds of sunbathers, many without masks, sitting close together at a park on a Manhattan pier, uninterrupted by the police.
On Thursday night, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office became the first prosecutor in the city to release statistics on social-distancing enforcement. In the borough, the police arrested 40 people for social-distancing violations from March 17 through May 4, the district attorney’s office said.
Of those arrested, 35 people were black, four were Hispanic and one was white.
The ghosts of Eric Garner and Amadou Diallo are truly shocked. Meanwhile, the head of the NYC police union has gone full fascist on this.
.@NYCPBA calls for end of @NYPDnews policing of social distancing: “As the weather heats up & the pandemic continues to unravel our social fabric, police officers should be allowed to focus on our core public safety mission. If we don’t, the city will fall apart before our eyes.” pic.twitter.com/YPYZUh4TG2
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) May 4, 2020