Police State/Civil Liberties

NYPD Brass to Rank and File: Start Writing More Summonses Or Else

The case of the NYPD “work slow down” is an example of why a Machiavellian approach to political strategy and activism is necessary. If there were a large and well-organized anarchist movement in North America, that was in turn organizing a larger federation of anti-state groups, we would of course have been out there participating in the recent anti-police brutality protests generated by Ferguson and Garner. However, once a division emerged between the police and the political class, or between the rank and file police and top brass, we would then seek to exploit that division. Unlike liberals and other do-gooders who chastised the NYPD for disrespecting the mayor by turning their backs on him, we would welcome such actions as fostering division between the state and its enforcer arm (hey, the cops are just exercising their right to protest, right?). In response to the top brass “back to work” order we would come out and protest in support of the work slow down (after all, the cops are just unionized wage workers, too. Right? LOL).

By Jesse Walker


On Friday, the New York Police Department publicly acknowledged that a slowdown was underway among the rank and file. Over the weekend, we learned how the bosses were responding to the revolt. According to The New York Post,

Back to work, officer!At precincts across the city, top brass are cracking the whip on summons activity and even barring many cops from taking vacation and sick days, The Post has learned.

Throughout the city, precincts are being ordered to hand up to borough commanders “activity sheets” indicating the number of arrests and summonses per shift, sources told The Post.

“Police officers around the city are now threatened with transfers, no vacation time and sick time unless they write summonses,” one union source said….

Bratton’s back-to-work edict was still ringing in commanding officers’ ears when the crackdown hit cops on the Thursday/Friday overnight shift at the 105th bordering Nassau County, the officer said.

The lieutenant ordered sector cars from throughout the precinct to converge at Springfield Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue for a driver checkpoint, the officer said.

No one was to return to the precinct or even take a meal break until two summonses were logged, the officer said.

This whole episode seems to have scrambled everyone’s political allegiances. The roots of the slowdown may be police resistance to reform, but that resistance has taken the form of informally enacting one of the most important changes that civil libertarians have been demanding: a severe reduction in the petty harassment of ordinary New Yorkers. It’s as though the force had suddenly been infiltrated by the ACLU, or by Oath Keepers with an especially broad understanding of which orders are too unconstitutional to follow. Meanwhile, a lot of the liberals on my Facebook feed have been demanding de Blasio bring the recalcitrant cops to heel; sometimes they even sling around words like “sedition.” And if the Post‘s reporting is accurate, the city’s supposedly reformist leadership is now responding to the revolt with summons quotas. Quotas!

“To have all the manpower utilized for the sole purpose of writing summonses is a very dangerous way to utilize manpower,” one police officer told the Post. I agree completely. Don’t fold now, angry cops! When I see your slowdown, I turn an old cliché on its head: I disagree with your goals, but I approve of your methods.

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