Defunded NYPD creating new ‘Neighborhood Safety Teams’ to replace former anti-gun unit

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – The New York City Police Department is planning to replace the disbanded gun anti-crime unit with new units labeled “Neighborhood Safety Teams.”

The new units will consist of plainclothes and uniformed details and will replace the uniformed Public Safety Teams in the top 30 commands where shootings surged last year, according to a memo sent out Friday by Chief of Department Ken Corey.

According to the New York Post, Chief Corey sent out the memo stating in part:

“Neighborhood Safety Teams will be responsible for addressing violent street crimes, specifically targeting perpetrators who carry and use illegal firearms.

“They will perform duty attired in a hybrid plain-clothes/uniform, and their name, rank, and shield number will appear on their outermost garment at all times so that the public and other officers can identify them as members of the service.”

The plainclothes anti-crime unit, which sought to prevent gun violence in the city, was disbanded in June 2020 after several high-profile police encounters — including the May 2020 death of George Floyd and the 2014 death of Eric Garner at the hands of an officer assigned to the NYPD task force.

New city Mayor Eric Adams promised to revive the anti-crime unit in some form during his campaign. He was vocal about returning the anti-gun unit following the shooting death of 1-year-old Davell Gardner, who was struck in the stomach with a bullet during a family cookout.

One-year-old Davell Gardner Jr. was struck by a bullet on July 12, 2020, during a cookout near the Raymond Bush Playground in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Dashawn Austin, 25, has been arrested in connection with the death of the child.

Mayor Adams, a retired NYPD officer, said in 2020:

“Right now, bad guys are saying, ‘If you don’t see a blue and white, you can do whatever you want.'”

Violent crime has surged in New York City in 2021. There were 485 murders last year across the city, topping 2020 figures by 17. In 2019, the city only saw 318 murders.

The NYPD also recorded 1,562 shooting incidents in 2021 — 30 more than the number of shootings recorded in 2020.

Defunded NYPD creating new ‘Neighborhood Safety Teams’ to replace former anti-gun unit The memo issued by the department asked top brass to nominate officers for the Neighborhood Safety Teams by next Friday. Selected officers will be sent for specialized training. There were no details released on what specialized training the officers would be given, or when the new units would be activated.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell has expressed support in the past for plainclothes units, but only if the officers are highly trained and given clear objectives.

The previous anti-crime unit came under attack as being the last tie to the “Stop and Frisk” days. Former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea disbanded the unit  last year, saying there was too much corruption and violence coming from the units.

Corey said in the memo that all candidates for the unit must have at least 2.5 years on the job and be “vetted by their Commanding Officers.”  The memo said officers would undergo:

“Review of performance evaluations, disciplinary history, use of force incidents, civilian complaints, community recognition, Body-Worn Camera footage, Stop Report compliance, sick record, etc.”

Unit officers will be required to wear body cameras and must display identification at all times, according to the memo:

“They will perform duty attired in a hybrid plain-clothes/uniform, and their name, rank, and shield number will appear on their outermost garment at all times so that the public and other officers can identify them as members of the service.”

Each unit, which will be supervised by a lieutenant, will have a ratio of one sergeant for every five police officers or detectives, the memo says.

 

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BLM leader threatens ‘riots’ and ‘bloodshed’ if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reinstates NYPD anti-crime units

November 11, 2022

 

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Hawk Newsome threatened “riots” and “bloodshed” in the streets if Mayor-elect Eric Adams re-establishes NYPD’s plainclothes anti-crime unit to battle New York’s surge in violent crimes.

Newsome and Adams participated in a debate at Brooklyn Borough Hall Wednesday over the Mayor-elect’s plan to return to tougher policing in the city. The debate was livestreamed on Instagram.

During his campaign, Adams promised to bring back a “reinvented: version of the anti-crime unit, which was formerly used to focus on guns, violent crime, and drugs.

During the debate, the two sparred over policing in New York City, with Newsome telling the former NYPD captain that Black Lives Matter would hold him accountable for future police misconduct. Adams shot back:

“You’re on the ground. Stop the violence in my community. I’m holding you accountable. Don’t hold me accountable.

“Being the mayor, being the borough president, being the state senator — I put my body on the line for my community, so I’m not here for folks to come and say, ‘Eric, we’re gonna hold you accountable.’

‘No, it’s us. We need to do this together.’

Following the debate, Newsome spoke to the media about the Mayor’s plan to return to the anti-crime unit and other tougher policing policies:

“If they think they are going back to the old ways of policing, then we’re going to take to the streets again. There will be riots. There will be fire, and there will be bloodshed.”

Newsome quickly tried to qualify his shocking threat, saying:

“I am not threatening anyone. I am just saying that it’s a natural response to aggressive oppression – people will react.”

The anti-crime unit has a long history in New York spanning decades of combating violent crime. However, the unit has spawned some controversies over the years.

Once called the Street Crimes Unit, several high-profile fatal police encounters put a shadow over the important work being done to reduce crime and make the streets safe.

In 1999, four plainclothes Street Crime Unit officers fatally shot Amadou Diallo, an unarmed 22-year-old West African immigrant, outside his South Bronx home.

Facing intense criticism, in 2002, the NYPD “disbanded” the units and shifted many of those officers to another plainclothes squad already in place in some boroughs, the Anti-Crime Unit.

In 2014, Anti-Crime officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold on Eric Garner during a fatal encounter on Staten Island. Garner reportedly repeated several times, “I can’t breathe.”

A Staten Island grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice both declined to bring criminal charges against Pantaleo. He was terminated from the NYPD after a department disciplinary trial led Judge Rosemarie Maldonado to recommend his termination.

“I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry for the anti-police movement and led to the national prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In June 2020, following weeks of protests and riots triggered by the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the anti-crime unit was shut down.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said he personally made the decision to banish the units, which have been responsible for a “disproportionate” number of shootings and misconduct complaints made against the NYPD in their decades-long history.

He called it a “seismic shift” that will have an immediate effect:

“This is a policy shift coming from me, personally. I think it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains. We can do it with guile. We can move away from brute force.”

Although not entirely attributable to the anti-crime unit shutdown, NYC has experienced a massive surge in crime this year. The overall crime rate in the Big Apple rose 11.2% in October compared to a year ago.

The number of robberies jumped 15.8% (1,450 v. 1,252) and felonious assaults increased by 13.8% (2,123 v. 1,865) year-over-year.

Grand Larceny and auto thefts also rose significantly in October compared to the same period last year. Auto thefts are up almost 15% for the year versus 2020.

Fox News reported that gun arrests have jumped 13.9% this year compared to 2020, and there were 382 gun arrests in the city in October.

Rather than continuing his call policing with “guile” and “brains,” Commissioner Shea recently called for policing that sends “a consequential message”:

“The men and women of the NYPD have never wavered in their commitment to the collective public safety of all New Yorkers – as demonstrated by this ongoing, downward trend in violence.

While their devotion to service is commendable, effective crime fighting is predicated upon a collaborative effort from all aspects of the criminal justice landscape – as well as society as a whole.

“Additionally, our brave officers’ work must be reinforced by meaningful consequences that send a consequential message to those who find themselves on the path toward criminality.”
 

 

 

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