It’s amazing to think that just a few years ago, the conventional wisdom in New York City was that the police department shouldn’t be stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of people every year on the off chance that they might discover an illicitly held weapon. Oh sure, Michael Bloomberg was a big fan of taking young minorities and “throw[ing] them up against the wall” and frisking them when he was mayor, but most New Yorkers were opposed to the idea, seeing it as an invasion of privacy and a violation of individual rights.
Well, it’s apparently a new day in New York City, with current mayor Bill de Blasio coming out on Thursday in favor of the New York Police Department should “confront” city residents who are accused of making hurtful statements towards Asian Americans.
“Even if something is not a criminal case, a perpetrator being confronted by the city, whether it’s NYPD or another agency, and being told that what they’ve done was very hurtful to another person—and could, if ever repeated, lead to criminal charges—that’s another important piece of the puzzle,” de Blasio said at a Thursday press conference.
When asked by Wall Street Journal reporter Katie Hogan how that process would work, de Blasio answered that the NYPD is already trained to deal with these types of incidents.
“The NYPD is a great example: one of the things officers are trained to do is to give warnings,” de Blasio said. “If someone has done something wrong, but not rising to a criminal level, it’s perfectly appropriate for an NYPD officer to talk to them to say, ‘that was not appropriate, and if you did that on a higher level, that would be a crime.’ I think that has an educating impact on people.”
I’m fully on board with reporting criminal behavior to the police, but frankly the NYPD is having enough trouble getting a handle on violent crime to dedicate any resources to tracking people down and warning them not to be a jackass. There might be good intentions behind de Blasio’s proposal, but the proposal itself would be an egregious abuse of power in addition to wasting the resources of law enforcement.
Over at Hot Air, my colleague Allahpundit points out the abrupt shift in tone from de Blasio, who just a few months ago was all in favor of defunding the city’s police department to the tune of $1-billion.
“Not appropriate” is an awfully slippery slope. A year ago progressives wanted to defund the police, so anxious were they about sparing citizens from police violence. Now here’s the most left-wing mayor NYC has had in decades looking to expand the mandate for armed officers from enforcing the law to warning people that they’ve crossed a line of politesse that offended the officer’s sensibilities. All we needed to do to get de Blasio to fly the “thin blue line” flag, it turns out, was woke-ify the cops a little.
Note too that he’s not just imagining scenarios where a cop happens to personally witness someone shouting something racist and intervenes to keep the peace. He’s imagining the police making house calls:
Yep, house calls. The mayor’s actual quote was, “I assure you, if an NYPD officer calls you or shows up at your door to ask about something you did, that makes people think twice, and we need that.”
Hey, here’s an idea. Maybe wait until midnight to knock on those doors. You could even take those verbal offenders down to Lubyanka Prison One Police Plaza for questioning.
Actually, I don’t like that idea much at all, though I’m sure it’s very appealing to “Bolshevik Bill” de Blasio. How about this instead:
Let the police focus on violent crime. Ensure that law-abiding New Yorkers can protect themselves with a firearm from physical assaults and threats to their lives, including members of the Asian American community. And if members of the general public witness someone being an ass, let them call out the offender.
I do believe that we need to stand in support of those who are being accosted and assaulted just because someone doesn’t like “those people,” but turning the police into scolds with badges is both an incredibly dumb and authoritarian way of going about it.
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