The Appeal: What’s Not To Love About The NYPD Slowdown?

“The Daily Appeal spoke to Alice Fontier, the managing director of the criminal defense practice at The Bronx Defenders. I asked Fontier about how the slowdown has played out in criminal court in the Bronx, one of the most heavily policed counties in the country. Over the last few months, Fontier said, there had been at least 100 people at any given time who have been arrested and are waiting to be arraigned. During the slowdown, that number dropped to somewhere between 30 and 40 people. “I was in arraignments, and most of the misdemeanors that came through were ones with actual complainants, like assaults or petit larceny from a store, not the police observation ones, like driving on a suspended license and trespassing,” she said. “I haven’t seen a single person arrested for resisting arrest or obstructing government administration.”

Fontier pointed out that during the last slowdown, the PBA urged its members not to make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” which indicated to many that police were making plenty of unnecessary arrests. “That’s the reality. They really are unnecessary. There are far too many police officers doing far too many things all of the time.” She added, “It’s incredible, because nothing is happening [during this slowdown], things aren’t exploding, there are no waves of violent crime, they just aren’t making so many silly arrests that they shouldn’t be making in the first place.”

This “just demonstrates conclusively that what they are doing between slowdowns is actually the problem,” she said. “They’re overpolicing Black and brown neighborhoods, arresting people for things that do not impact the safety of the community, and ruining lives for the sake of saying that they made arrests.” To the PBA, she said, “thank you for demonstrating that you have been doing too much. Let’s scale this thing back.”

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