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Alleged NYPD Slowdown Welcomed By Some Activists

The NYPD is making a lot fewer arrests than it did this time last year, apparently as a way to show its anger with Mayor de Blasio. Some say New York City is "over-policed" and that this is the way it should be.

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The New York Police Department is reportedly making a lot fewer arrests for the week of Dec. 22 than it did during the same time frame last year — 66% less.

As Reuters and the New York Post reported, the decrease is even more staggering for court summons issued for minor violations such as drinking in public, which have decreased 94%.

The decrease comes at a time of great tension between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD unions, many have interpreted it as a work slowdown.

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Law enforcement officers turn their backs on a live video of de Blasio speaking speaks at the funeral of slain officer Rafael Ramos on December 27.

A work slowdown is a labor organizing technique in which workers put pressure on an employer by doing less of their job than usual. It's a way for employees to protest what they see as unfair conditions without declaring an all-out strike.

Relations between City Hall and the NYPD have been tense since a gunman killed two police officers in Brooklyn on Dec. 20. Many cops, including union leaders, accused de Blasio of enabling the climate that led to the killings by showing solidarity with protests calling an end to police brutality.

It also doesn't help that three out of the five unions are currently in contract negotiations with the city.

Whether the apparent slowdown was ordered by the NYPD unions remains unclear. Al O'Leary, the spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, declined BuzzFeed News' request for comment on the situation.

But whether it is a union organizing technique or simply a coincidence, the decrease in arrests has pleased many of the NYPD's fiercest critics, who have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #NYPDSlowDown.

We support the #NYPDslowdown. This is a policing policy we can really get behind. Will City Hall join us in showing formal approval?

Copwatch@CopwatchFollow

We support the #NYPDslowdown. This is a policing policy we can really get behind. Will City Hall join us in showing formal approval?

10:54 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

I support it. Slow down forever & stop being murderers #NYPDslowdown

A Bee@xprincessLexxFollow

I support it. Slow down forever & stop being murderers #NYPDslowdown

11:10 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This #NYPDslowdown is a really intellegent strategy. Proving to the public that the NYPD isn't all that necessary is real hero work.

Graig Salerno@GraigSalernoFollow

This #NYPDslowdown is a really intellegent strategy. Proving to the public that the NYPD isn't all that necessary is real hero work.

9:37 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Some have pointed out that the crime rate has not skyrocketed since the drop in minor arrests, which are central to the "broken windows" theory of policing.

The Broken Windows approach holds that policing minor crimes — such as public drinking — prevents major crimes from taking place.

Supporters of the theory — among them Police Commissioner William Bratton — credit it with the staggering drop in crime that transformed New York City from one of the most dangerous cities in America to one of the safest.

#NYPDslowdown proves two things: 1. They're petty, lawless, whiners. 2. We don't need them/they over police us (crime isn't going crazy).

Genius the Expat@JohnathenDDFollow

#NYPDslowdown proves two things:

1. They're petty, lawless, whiners.
2. We don't need them/they over police us (crime isn't going crazy).

10:51 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

PBA tells cops no arrests unless "absolutely necessary.” <- shouldn't that always be the rule? #NYPDslowdown http://t.co/QB4Fh2jS8z

Kitty Overton@KittyOvertonFollow

PBA tells cops no arrests unless "absolutely necessary.” <- shouldn't that always be the rule? #NYPDslowdown http://t.co/QB4Fh2jS8z

11:52 PM - 30 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

#NYPDslowdown may be the best thing to happen to NYers in years. How many unnecessary arrests were they making before? No quotas, right?

Spectrum News Prism@SpectNewsPrismFollow

#NYPDslowdown may be the best thing to happen to NYers in years. How many unnecessary arrests were they making before? No quotas, right?

11:09 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The problem, according to the theory's critics, is that aggressive policing of low-level misdemeanors unfairly targets lower-income and minority people.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Many saw Eric Garner's arrest for selling loose cigarettes as a prime example of the "quality of life" policing supported by broken windows — and his death as a sobering reminder of its dangers.

I wish the police in my city pull a #NYPDslowdown so i can walk on the wrong side of the street again in peace

Kevin Maserati@kevinDAtruth88Follow

I wish the police in my city pull a #NYPDslowdown so i can walk on the wrong side of the street again in peace

9:39 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

maybe if we get more mayors to back protestors across the country, we could have a global police slowdown. #NYPDslowdown

StrangerOnFire@StrangerOnFireFollow

maybe if we get more mayors to back protestors across the country, we could have a global police slowdown. #NYPDslowdown

12:42 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Perhaps NYC will lay off unnecessary #NYPD to offset the $millions paid out in police brutality claims. #NYPDslowdown

Me@NixxieMcBooFollow

Perhaps NYC will lay off unnecessary #NYPD to offset the $millions paid out in police brutality claims. #NYPDslowdown

11:02 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Whether the apparent slowdown will continue after the union's contracts are signed remains unclear. But for now, people in New York are getting a glimpse into what a new style of policing may look like.

Whose streets? Apparently, our streets. #NYPDslowdown

Tom Watson@tomwatsonFollow

Whose streets? Apparently, our streets. #NYPDslowdown

11:02 AM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The NYPD and Mayor de Blasio did not respond to request for comment on the apparent slowdown.

Nicolás Medina Mora is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Nicolás Medina Mora at nicolas.mora@buzzfeed.com.

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