Coronavirus: New York mayor pledges to release police social distancing data

Coronavirus: New York mayor pledges to release police social distancing data


Coronavirus: New York mayor pledges to release police social distancing data

Coronavirus: New York mayor pledges to release police social distancing data

Coronavirus: New York mayor pledges to release police social distancing data 1

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to release New York Police Department (NYPD) social distancing enforcement data, amid tension between officers and communities.

The mayor’s comments came after a police officer, Francis Garcia, was stripped of his badge earlier this week, in reaction to video footage which showed him a slap and hit a member of the public.

The violent incident occurred after Mr Garcia told a group in Manhattan, who were not wearing face masks, to leave the area.


New York City public advocate, Jumaane Williams, asked to see the data earlier in the week, and said he was fearful that enforcement is targeting communities of colour.

“I want to see the data. You can’t have inequities in enforcement and over-policing,” he told CBS.​

Mr de Blasio told reporters that there needs to be better communication between the police and the public, but stressed that officers need to treat every community the same.

“The message to the NYPD is be consistent across all communities, communicate with all people,” he said.

“As always with neighbourhood policing, help people understand that this is about their own health and safety and their family,” Mr de Blasio added.

The Mayor said that social distancing is still a new concept and that the NYPD is learning as the coronavirus pandemic develops.

“We’re getting more and more experience with what works, what doesn’t work in terms of trying to figure out the right type of enforcement,” he said.

Despite the shocking video footage, Mr de Blasio said that a large majority of police interactions have been positive.

​”We’ve seen a couple of really unfortunate and inappropriate instances, but only, in my view, a small number compared to the vast number of interactions between our officers and our communities that have gone the right way,” he said.

He added: ”I want to keep things in perspective.”

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said that the police have not been given clear enough communication about social distancing.

“The cowards who run this city have given us nothing but vague guidelines and mixed messages, leaving the cops on the street corners to fend for ourselves.

“Nobody has a right to interfere with a police action. But now that the inevitable backlash has arrived, they are once again throwing us under the bus.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of 1.2 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 73,566.


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