That said, I generally support the police and their unions more so than some of my friends on the left. My brother served as an NYPD Captain and gave me some real insight into what the job was like. I know some other NYPD officers and retired cops who are decent people who do their best to uphold the law.
For those of you who did not follow the Pantaleo trial closely, below is an excerpt from from CBS News on the departmental trial :
Pantaleo's lawyer has said the officer didn't mean to hurt Garner and insisted he did not use the banned chokehold. But in a disciplinary recommendation obtained by the New York Times, NYPD administrative judge Rosemarie Maldonado said video of the fatal encounter and autopsy results provided "overwhelming" evidence that Pantaleo used the banned maneuver. In the recommendation that followed a recent administrative trial, she reportedly found Pantaleo was "untruthful" during questioning when he denied using the chokehold.
The judge said fire him and the Commissioner agreed. End of story, right? Wrong.
I really want this post to be about the union angle and not so much the verdict. Teachers are routinely charged, discontinued, terminated and or forced to resign in NYC. The response from the UFT publicly is virtually always stone cold silence. However, when one NYPD officer is terminated, even though there is video evidence that the officer used a prohibited choke-hold, their union (the PBA) still goes absolutely ballistic in support of their member.
From the NY Post in the week after the arrest:
The number of arrests and criminal summonses handled by city cops last week plummeted compared to the same period in 2018 — and law enforcement sources warn it’s the “Pantaleo Effect.’’
Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill on Aug. 19 over his role in the fatal takedown of Staten Island cigarette peddler Eric Garner, enraging police officers and their union leaders, who argue the cop was simply doing his job during an arrest.
Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch responded by angrily telling his members to “proceed with the utmost caution’’ when answering calls — and new statistics obtained by The Post on Monday suggest officers are heeding his warning.
Obviously, there is a bit of a slowdown going on that is succeeding. The generic term for this slowdown is a job action. However, you will not see the Taylor Law being used against the cops where each officer would lose two days pay for every day that arrests and summonses are way down. The PBA is being emboldened as this continued.
PBA Delegates voted unanimously that they have no confidence in Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner James O'Neill.
The resolutions approved by the Police Benevolent Association call for O’Neill to resign, and for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to use emergency powers to remove de Blasio from office. They were approved by a unanimous voice vote at a meeting of the PBA’s nearly 400 delegates, elected as union representatives from the city’s precincts and police commands.
“Today’s votes are an unequivocal indictment of our failed leaders in City Hall and 1 Police Plaza. For years, Mayor de Blasio has demonized police officers and undermined our efforts to protect our city. For years, Commissioner O’Neill has cravenly acquiesced to the Mayor and his anti-cop allies,” said PBA president Pat Lynch in a prepared statement.
“The unjust termination of P.O. Daniel Pantaleo was merely the final straw: both men have displayed an appalling pattern of malfeasance and nonfeasance that disqualifies them from continuing to serve in their current offices," Lynch said.
The slowdown looks like it was continuing as last week the NY Post reported on Wednesday that shootings are up but arrests and tickets are down in NYC.
Statistics showed citywide shootings nearly doubled during the past week, from 12 to 23, compared to the same period last year.
That followed a 44 percent spike, from 16 to 23, during the previous week, which began the day of Pantaleo's firing.
Those shootings bought the most recent four-week total to 85 shootings, up 25 percent from 68 last year, after two weeks in which there were a combined 39 shootings, down from 40 during the same time last year.
O'Neill also acknowledged an ongoing decline in police activity since Pantaleo's firing, with arrests and criminal summonses down 19,8 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively, last week.
Parking violations also plummeted by a staggering 67.5 percent, while moving violations were down also by 22.4 percent.
Law-enforcement sources have told The Post that while there's no organized slowdown, the drop in numbers was due to the "Pantaleo effect" of cops not wanting to put their careers at risk.
Parking tickets down 67.5 percent but it's not an organized slowdown? Yeah right, it's just police officers proceeding with the "utmost caution."
O’Neill on the union:
"This is something Pat feels he needs to do for his membership, and I'll say it again, I disagree with him very strongly," O'Neill said.
Notice the respectful tone and how he purposely does not call it a slowdown.
Back to the Politico story:
The mayor and police commissioner have taken flack from both sides for their handling of the controversial case. While the union rails against the decision to terminate Pantaleo, Garner’s family and police reform advocates have chastised de Blasio and O’Neill for not taking disciplinary action against more officers.
One officer is terminated and the cops are unofficially staging a work slowdown. Do you think anything beyond losing some vacation days is going to happen to anyone else involved in the Garner case?
The answer is nobody will be in any further trouble because the PBA would go even wilder and police would basically stop arresting anyone but the most blatant criminals. The slowdown is somewhat restrained and it is successfully making its point. Sorry critics, there isn't going to be any housecleaning of officers involved in the Garner case. The PBA is still a force to be reckoned with.
Now picture a union in which UFT members have that all for one, one for all spirit. Whatever you think of the 1968 strike, (critics say it was a fight to prevent community control while UFT supporters say it was about due process for UFT members), the UFT shut down the schools for two months because 13 members were involuntarily transferred out of a district. Let's take the UFT at their word that it was about due process, the many came to the aid of the few. If we built the UFT back from the ground, not from the top, I guarantee you we would be respected again. We are living off what is left of the gains made back a half a century ago when the UFT was respected. It can happen again. It is up to the rank and file to demand it.