Of the 316 "jaywalking" tickets handed out in the first nine months of last year, 89.5 percent went to blacks and Hispanics.
"Punishing pedestrians and targeting communities of color is no way to make our city safer," tweeted Council Speaker Corey Johnson, adding that racially biased ticketing is "not how we build a positive relationship between police and the communities that have borne the brunt of overpolicing."
Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is Johnson's potential rival for the mayoralty next year, added that he found the summons numbers "alarming."
"Unequal law enforcement is unjust law enforcement—and it’s communities of color who pay the price," Stringer said.
"Adding to the list of things not to do while being a person of more color: crossing the street," he said. "Unnecessary and racially biased summonses disrupt people's lives and expose undocumented people to great risk. These numbers must change."
Niou's tweet referred to a senior citizen who was beaten by several cops after he was stopped for "jaywalking," but then did not understand what the officers were saying to him — a case that represents a different example of insensitive policing. Overall, the Streetsblog story focused on the apparent bias of NYPD officers, who wrote 316 jaywalking tickets last year, 284 of which, or 89.5 percent, were issued to blacks and Hispanics, even though people of all races, classes, creeds, national origins and religions are equally likely to cross a street against a traffic signal.
The story also revealed that cops use jaywalking tickets to harass young people. More than half of the tickets — 167, or 53 percent — were issued to people under 25, with 44 percent of the tickets going to people aged 18 to 25, even though that group comprises just 7 percent of the population.
The NYPD declined to comment for the original story and declined to comment for this one, too. City Hall also offered no response. (City offices are technically closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but we have been receiving other communication from the NYPD and other agencies today.)
Educated at the Sorbonne and the Yale School of Drama, Gersh Kuntzman is obviously not the person being described here. We're talking about tabloid legend Gersh Kuntzman, who has been with New York newspapers since 1989, including stints at the New York Daily News, the Post, the Brooklyn Paper and even a cup of coffee with the Times. He's also the writer and producer of "Murder at the Food Coop," which was a hit at the NYC Fringe Festival in 2016, and “SUV: The Musical” in 2007. Email Gersh at firstname.lastname@example.org
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