Bratton Report Glosses over Impact Broken Windows Policing Has on New York’s Communities of Color

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
April 30, 2015 2:45 pm

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NEW YORK – In response to a report released today by the NYPD and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in defense of Broken Windows policing, the leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement. It is attributable to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

“It is disingenuous to suggest that critics of Broken Windows do not care about the quality of life of all New York City residents.

All New Yorkers have a right to live in safe and clean neighborhoods and travel on safe and clean subways. We all want to have the police come when we call and to have a relationship with them that is built on dignity and respect. And we agree with the commissioner that good policing requires discretion. It also requires skill and a commitment to de-escalation of conflict.

There are certain offenses that should never end in an arrest. No New Yorker should ever spend a night in jail for carrying an open container or for peeing behind a dumpster. No child should be pushed into the criminal justice system for jumping a turnstile or riding a bike on the sidewalk. Decriminalizing certain low-level offenses doesn’t invite lawlessness – what devastates our communities is when entire generations cannot access employment, housing and educational opportunities because they are tarnished by a criminal record.

The de Blasio administration and Commissioner Bratton deserve credit for the tremendous decline in stop-and-frisks, the reduction in misdemeanor arrests and their efforts to reduce the harms of summonses. We agree there out to be a “Peace Dividend.” But the stubborn commitment to Broken Windows policing that has become code for racial profiling and a source of resentment and distrust cannot be ignored or condoned, particularly in the context of the lowest crime levels in decades and in a city where police-community relations have been so badly damaged by the Giuliani-Bloomberg era.”

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