3-Day Course Seeks To Improve Relationship Between Cops, Communities

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD officials discussed Thursday a retraining of officers in the wake of the Eric Garner death in police custody.

“The relationship between police and community has to change,” de Blasio told reporters. “The way we go about policing has to change. Has to change in this city, has to change in this country. I am fundamentally convinced it will change.

“Through all the pain and the frustration, I will keep saying what I know to be true: Reform is happening here in New York City. It is happening already before our very eyes, tanigably, meaningfully, and it has only just begun. There is much more ahead.”

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About 22,000 patrolmen are being retrained during a three-day course, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. The retraining began earlier this month, and officials hope it will be completed by June.

“It’s a fulfillment of a commitment that I made coming in as commissioner and that the mayor embraced wholeheartedly — the need to refocus the department,” Bratton said. “And to refocus it requires training and the enhancement of skills that are so necessary to reach the commitment that we made to the community to police fairly, impartially and safely.”

Officials said some of the focal points will be changing how officers both talk and listen to people, slowing down some interactions and waiting until backup arrives in certain cases.

Among the changes, police are being trained to curse at people while utilizing different kinds of holds to take people down, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

A community advisory board will be set up to assist with the new procedures.

The revised tactics come after changes already have been made to stop-and-frisk and low-level marijuana busts.

“The training that’s going to happen here in this building will change the future of this city,” de Blasio said. “It will have, not just an impact on thousands of people, it will have an impact on millions of people, because every interaction that every officer has with their fellow New Yorkers after they are trained again will be different. And that will multiply many years over, for years and years to come. And a whole new generation of officers will be trained with a new approach.”

The retraining comes after Garner died in July after being placed in an apparent chokehold by an officer.

The 43-year-old father of six died after police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island.

In cellphone video of the incident, Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, is seen placing his arm around Garner’s neck in an apparent chokehold and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed.

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Garner, who was black, is heard saying repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!”

The New York City Medical Examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide, caused by the officer’s apparent chokehold as well as chest and neck compressions and prone positioning “during physical restraint by police.” Asthma, heart disease and obesity were also contributing factors.

A grand jury decided Wednesday against indicting Pantaleo. The Department of Justice announced later that day it was launching a federal investigation into Garner’s death.

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