A crowd of demonstrators who’ve called for an end to police brutality gathered in Lower Manhattan on Monday to demand the firing of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
Protesters intend to occupy City Hall Park throughout the day, according to a press release. In addition to Bratton’s job, the group is demanding: an end to “broken windows” policies; reparations to the victims of police violence from the New York Police Department’s budget; and the defunding of the NYPD’s budget—money from which the group says should be reinvested in communities of color.
The demonstration was planned by Millions March NYC, a police abolition group, which led many of the large-scale Black Lives Matter protests in New York City followed the choking-death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner.
Millions March NYC is one of many groups opposed to “broken windows” policing, a law enforcement strategy that typically involves the systematic targeting of small crimes to discourage major ones. As the theory goes, major crime thrives in a climate of disorder perpetuated by lesser, nonviolent crimes, such panhandling, graffiti, prostitution, and loitering. However, the strategy often disproportionately affects low-income minority neighborhoods, flooding them with police officers who target the citizens least able to afford costly citations.
For example, a study published in December revealed that black people living in the city of Minneapolis are 8.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for nonviolent, low-level offenses, such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, or public intoxication. While blacks make up 19 percent of the city’s population, they account for 59 percent of all low-level arrests, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Whites, while representing approximately two-thirds of Minneapolis, account for only 23 percent of low-level arrests.
Bratton, whom the protesters want fired, has championed the use of “broken windows” policies at NYPD and attributed to it significant drops in crime in major U.S. cities, including Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City.
The demonstrators at City Hall Park plan to hold workshops throughout the day and a rally at 6pm, according to the Village Voice.
A 27-year-old protester reportedly told the paper that the organizers were discouraging people from setting up tents at the occupation. “We don’t think it encourages the kind of communal atmosphere that we’re trying to build,” said Hassein, a Crown Heights resident. “We do have food, water, various supplies. We’ll be here until our demands are met.”
H/T Village Voice