Op-Ed: Too Bad Bratton Won't Take "Broken Windows" With Him

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De Blasio, O'Neill and Bratton;  "Broken Windows" stays

  New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton who is resigning was no reformer to communities impacted by abusive and discriminatory policing, no matter how much he and his supporters attempt to promote that fallacy.  He never broke his commitment to the discriminatory broken windows policing that brought this city and too many others stop-and-frisk abuses, militarized over-policing that targets communities of color, homeless, young and LGBT folks, and a range of other harmful policing practices.

Those abuses produced lasting damage and pain in our communities through the over-criminalization that led to mass incarceration, and continue harm to this day. Bratton’s failure to hold police officers accountable when they unjustly kill or brutalize New Yorkers only perpetuates the police abuses and killings roiling this nation.

There should be no delusion of systemic change at the NYPD under his tenure. Regardless of who is at the top of the NYPD, the problems remain systemic within the department and will not simply change with leadership, particularly if that leadership and the mayor remain committed to Bratton’s discriminatory ideologies.  

As long as Mayor de Blasio and the new police commissioner continue with discriminatory broken windows policing and failed accountability for officers who abuse and brutalize New Yorkers, the same problems will exist and this administration will have failed to provide systemic change.

Chief James O’Neill’s status as the number two and hand-picked successor of Bratton makes it difficult to believe that he will not simply maintain the problematic state of affairs – real leadership will require a break and true commitment to addressing the NYPD’s systemic problems. 

Talk is cheap and our communities are tired – so-called "community policing," "training" and the rhetoric of "police-community relations" are no solution to the systemic problems with policing in this city and nation.  

Our communities want action that ends discriminatory broken windows and other police abuses and that brings real accountability for how officers treat members of our communities. 

Anthonine Pierre is spokesperson, Communities United for Police Reform  

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