Program Allows Minor Offenses To Be Dismissed

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On Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20,  famed Emmanuel Baptist Church on Lafayette Ave. and St. James Place, Brooklyn, hosted "Operation SOS", a free public amnesty program. 

It was for individuals to have "their day in Court" who have outstanding warrants and summonses for minor offenses.

What were these offenses?

Possession of an open container of alcohol; public urination; sitting or sleeping on a park bench after curfew hours; fare evasion; disorderly conduct; riding a bicycle on the sidewalk; and so forth. It was a win-win situation where everyone seemingly enjoyed "Christmas in July" including liberated offenders, relieved of the burden, as well as warrant officers whose caseload of outstanding warrants were drastically reduced.

Not too long ago when a massive gathering of police turned their backs to the Mayor at a funeral service for two murdered police officers, this unofficial behavior extended to a "drop" in the issuance of summonses for minor infractions. The courts experienced a drastic drop in attendance and revenue. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was sharply critical and "business” picked up.

In 2010, the NYPD gave out over 149,425 summonses  for open alcohol containers, an average of 348 per day.

There were 81,036 summonses for disorderly conduct, the majority of which were issued to homeless people.

On a recent court date in Brooklyn, it was clear that 90% of people appearing on summonses were were people of color; a significant  number  of summonses were dismissed attesting to the low quality of the initial charge.

Where are the “bad” guys? Where do police spend most of their time? The quest by the police commissioner and the City Council for 1,000 more police officers raises the question; where will they be assigned? When would they be trained on the "refined" training curriculum?  Has the city council raised questions as to current relevancy of certain portions of the City Code that are archaic, unenforceable and leading to dismissals?


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