NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With violence continuing to plague the city unabated, there’s a demand Monday for an independent probe by the New York City Department of Investigation into whether cops are staging a work slowdown.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday, just one of the latest incidents of random violence horrifying the city is the attack on a 66-year-old victim walking down West 129 Street at Convent Avenue in Harlem. Surveillance video shows an unidentified man striking him in the head multiple times with a bottle.
“It’s very shocking and it’s sad to hear that the assault happened on a senior person at that age,” said Amir Aalaam of the Convent Avenue Family Living Center, a shelter for displaced families at the same intersection.
But with gun violence soaring and crime scene tape popping up in neighborhood after neighborhood, some elected officials say they’re shocked by reports cops are staging a work slowdown. They want the Department of Investigation to probe what’s going on.
“If the mayor and the police department are committed to finding the truth then there is nothing to fear from an independent investigation,” said City Councilman Ritchie Torres, chair of the Investigation Committee.
Torres and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former cop who also wants to run for mayor, want DOI to determine if there is a slowdown and to what extent it’s driving the growth in violence. The pair showed a chart claiming that NYPD response times increased 44% in June and about 14% in July and August. Adams also said cops have called him to tell him about the slowdown.
“Police officers that took an oath are frustrated and angry by some of their colleagues in certain parts of the city not responding to jobs correctly,” Adams said. “The Department of Investigation must look at precinct by precinct to see if job actions are taking place, in certain precincts, out of frustration.”
Kramer asked the mayor and the police commissioner about the perception of a job slow down at a press conference held to unveil new proposed guidelines to standardize punishment for police misconduct from precinct to precinct, which they hope will build trust in the community. While the mayor insisted perception is not reality, he did admit that $1 billion in defund the cops budget cuts are taking a toll.
“When you look at the statistics that trouble people, which are that arrests are down and response times are up, how do you convince people that the work is getting done?” Kramer asked.
“Everyone saw with their own eyes this June that we ended up with a budget, with fewer police officers, and there was going to be less overtime. New Yorkers are smart people. Don’t ever underestimate underestimate them, Marcia. They can count. They know if there are fewer police officers and less overtime there are going to be challenges,” de Blasio said.
“This is about math and it’s really not that complicated,” said Commissioner Dermot Shea. “I mean you’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars… taken out of the budget. And that budget went directly to taking cops off the street.”
The commissioner admitted response times are up but he also said the police have been stretched then by an increase in people retiring.
“Every day, police officers are running through the streets of the city, lately, and chasing down people with guns. That’s a fact,” Shea said.
A spokesperson for the DOI said the agency is reviewing the request for an investigation.
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