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Monday’s Headlines: Dermot Shea’s Police State Edition

12:04 AM EDT on August 10, 2020

As it happened on Friday afternoon.

The NYPD needs a damage control specialist. Or at least tourniquets for all its self-inflicted wounds.

The bottom line is the agency needs to stop making the same mistake over and over.

The latest display of racist overpolicing came on Friday afternoon, when a small squadron of heavily armed cops showed up at the Midtown home of Black Lives Matter protester Derrick Ingram to apparently arrest him for allegedly screaming in a cop's ear during a rally earlier in the year. It was a six-hour standoff.

"The tremendous show of force renewed questions about how the Police Department is addressing the protests for racial justice that have continued in New York for weeks and how they are dealing with those who participate in them," the Times reported, in an understatement, given that the same story offered such details as a police helicopter, police dogs, a barricaded street, two dozen police vehicles and "dozens of officers, including some who were wearing tactical gear and carrying shields."

And get this: The NYPD didn't even have a warrant for Ingram's arrest. This was strictly intimidation. (Gothamist also covered. And Council Speaker Corey Johnson was not pleased. Other outlets, like the Daily News and the Post, picked up the story when Ingram turned himself in on Saturday to be booked on the minor charge that precipitated such a major show of force.)

It comes after the NYPD got lightly scolded by its boss-on-paper, Mayor de Blasio, for last month's kidnap-style arrest (or "fascism," according to Tiffany Caban) of another protester wanted for a non-violent crime, and comes after key officials in the NYPD brass openly defied the city's democratic process, which also came after police meted out the kind of brutality that the protesters have been decrying.

And Friday's misconduct came after Jake Offenhartz — who is kicking ass on policing coverage right now — reported last week that the NYPD worked with an informant to trick one protester into committing a crime he might not have attempted otherwise.

Just as they did with Muslim-Americans in Brooklyn after 9/11, the cops are doing more than just keeping tabs on people — they're entrapping people. (So much for "protect and serve" — it's now "suspect and unnerve.")

In other news:

    • The Post's Steve Cuozzo really makes our job so much easier. In a column about how Mayor de Blasio should restore indoor dining to Midtown — you know, because we can't all wait to get back to breathing everyone's unfiltered COVID — he unwittingly (is there any other kind when it comes to Cuozzo?) made it clear the only short-term solution is pedestrianizing more of Midtown so neighborhood eateries can offer the same kind of al-fresco dining that residential areas are enjoying.
    • By the way, Gothamist, you're welcome. Thanks to Streetsblog's pushing — plus a direct plea to the mayor at Friday's presser — the NYPD finally released data about cop residency: A majority — 51 percent — live in the suburbs, up from 42 percent in 2016. That number is going in the wrong direction, despite de Blasio and Shea's constant spin that the NYPD truly represents the people it serves. De Blasio and Shea better get cracking because Attorney General Letitia James is pushing a residency requirement as one of her proposed reforms [PDF].
    • Check out this video of a snake on a subway platform — though the Post, the Daily News, and Gothamist failed to go with the obvious tabloid lede: "And you thought 'Snakes on a Plane' was scary."
    • More SUV carnage in Queens. (NYDN)
    • More evidence of a "blue flu": Cops are barely writing any traffic tickets (even as speed cameras catch plenty of people), the Post reported.
    • The coronavirus checkpoints have begun. (NY Post)
    • Nicole Gelinas, who has increasingly been defending the NYPD, gets back onto terra much more firma by slamming Mayor de Blasio for not doing enough during the pandemic to prevent the coming carmageddon. "Compared with the rest of the world, New York is way behind," she writes. (City Journal)
    • The NYPD is still barricading off public property — including the public park next to the mayor's house. (NY Post)
    • Pro-transit activists rallied in Queens to urge Gov. Cuomo to tax the rich before he cuts services to bus and subway riders. (amNY)

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