NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Debates over the broken windows law enforcement policy are shaping up to be a battle between City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, Bratton made famous the philosophy of enforcing minor quality of life crimes as a means of preventing more serious ones. But Mark-Viverito is demanding changes to the program.
Both sides deny any ill will, but the proposal has been sparking controversy.
Mark-Viverito has proposed decriminalizing minor offenses, such as spitting on the sidewalk or having an open container of liquor in public.
Officers would only be allowed to write tickets for such offenses, and would not be permitted to make arrests.
Eric Rodriguez saw two sides to the issue.
“They should concentrate on bigger crimes,” Rodriguez said, but he added that the crime-fighting success of the broken windows philosophy “could be true.”
Bratton has been advancing the broken windows philosophy for decades, and made clear this past Friday that he will go on doing so.
“Under no circumstances will I, as police commissioner, support anything that weakens the ability of my officers to police and keep this city safe,” Bratton said.
Appearing with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday, the City Council responded, referring to “some of the pushback that is coming from our police commissioner.”
On Monday, CBS2’s Aiello asked Mark-Viverito about the issue, noting that the back-and-forth has been presented as a feud between her and Bratton with Mayor Bill de Blasio in the middle.
“No, we have conversations,” Mark-Viverito said. “We want to minimize people’s interaction with the criminal justice system.”
Bratton said he is willing to listen, but reserving judgment on proposed reforms.
Public affairs expert David Birdsell said while the speaker is trying to pull Mayor de Blasio to the left on the issue, Bratton’s influence should not be discounted.
“Because he is, in essence, the walking embodiment of Bill de Blasio’s credibility — to the extent that he has it — with the police,” Birdsell said.
“But the fundamental notion of we have to address quality-of-life crimes head-on is one I believe in,” de Blasio told reporters this past Wednesday in the Bronx.
The mayor said enforcement is working.
“My concern is always to maintain quality-of-life policing because it has driven down crime,” the mayor said.
The speaker said she will be unwavering in her push for reform, and it is clear that Bratton is ready to push back as he sees fit, Aiello reported.
Late Monday night, Bratton said he had met with Mark-Viverito earlier in the day, and will continue to maintain a dialogue with her, the mayor, and other criminal justice experts on the issue. He said will also meet with NYPD executives to discuss enforcement issues on Thursday.
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