The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has moved officers out of district attorneys’ offices in several boroughs after some prosecutors moved to not file charges against some protesters arrested during recent demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd.
NYPD CommissionerDermot Sheadenied that the two issues were related in comments Friday, according toThe New York Times, but the decision to pull the department’s officers reportedly came just hours after Manhattan’s district attorney announced publicly that demonstrators would not be charged for simple curfew violations amid the protests.
“The justice system shouldn’t be the first resort,” Manhattan DACyrus Vance(D) told the Times in a recent interview. “It should be used only when necessary, especially for low-level offenses, which tend to fall on men and women of color and those economically less resourced.”
Other police officials are furious over the news, which was apparently buoyed by similar decisions made by district attorneys in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, according to the Times.
“It is a dereliction of duty to their oath of office,” Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, told the Times. “More important than undercutting the work of the N.Y.P.D., it is undercutting public safety.”
Shea noted, according to the Times, that reforms made by his agency were happening “maybe not as fast as some people like” but denied claims that his agency was feuding with city prosecutors.
“Are we always in lock step? No,” Shea said Friday. “We’re human beings and from different agencies.”
The commissioner went on to contend that the decision was made to deal with the city’s ongoing protests, which have continued for weeks over the death of Floyd, a black man who was unarmed at the time of his arrest.
Video of Floyd’s arrest sparked protests in dozens of cities when it was revealed that a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, even as the handcuffed Floyd pleaded for medical attention.
NYPD officials did not immediately return a request for further comment from The Hill.