New York, NY – A top New York Police Department (NYPD) official confirmed that police have been making fewer arrests in the city in the wake of NYPD Officer Daniel’s Pantaleo’s termination in connection with the death of Eric Garner.
The New York Post reported on Monday that officers made 1,319 fewer arrests and issued 474 fewer summonses in the week after Officer Pantaleo was fired than they did during the same week in 2018.
Law enforcement sources said the slowdown was a result of the “Pantaleo Effect.”
Tensions have been high between the department’s administration and the rank-and-file in the wake of NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill’s decision to terminate Officer Pantaleo for his role in the arrest of Garner five years ago.
In response, the police union put out a list of guidelines for officers to follow in order to keep them out of trouble.
Union leadership said it had become obvious the officers did not have support from Commissioner O’Neill and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Be advised that neither your Police Academy training nor the current Patrol Guide procedures reflect the precedent established by this decision,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch wrote in the memo, a copy of which has been obtained by Blue Lives Matter.
Lynch warned that Commissioner O’Neill’s termination of Officer Pantaleo set a dangerous precedent and “fundamentally changed the nature of our job” when he allowed politics to determine Officer Pantaleo’s fate without regard for the fact.
The memo encouraged officers to “uphold our oath” and continue doing their jobs but reminded them “we must remain united to protect each other from the toxic political environment in which we are forced to work.”
In order to be in exact compliance with the patrol guide, officers will have to do a lot of things in a specified way that, in the past, was unofficially left to officers’ discretion.
For example, officers are supposed to get permission from a supervisor to make an arrest and call in the SWAT team any time a suspect resists arrest, according to NYPD official policy.
NYPD sources predicted that following the rules closely would cause a slowdown in officers’ response times to emergency calls because going by the book would make everything take twice as long to do.
In response, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan urged officers to ignore the union’s guidance and continue doing their jobs as usual.
“This is not the time that we back down, that we walk away from doing our job. Doing what we do in this city to keep people safe,” Chief Monahan said.
After the New York Post reported arrests had dropped by 27 percent and criminal summonses had dropped by 29 percent compared to the same week in 2018, the chief was forced to admit there was a slowdown happening, the New York Post reported.
“We’ve seen a decrease in the number of arrests, mainly misdemeanor arrests, arrests police officers have discretion [over],” Chief Monahan acknowledged.
A high-ranking source told the New York Post that stops of unlicensed drivers and turnstile-jumpers saw two of the “biggest decreases” between Aug. 19, the day Officer Pantaleo was fired, and Aug. 25, as compared to the same period last year.
Chief Monahan said that numbers of arrests for serious crimes have held steady despite the slowdown.
“[Officers] are not going to make the city any less safe,” the chief said. “They are upset. I know they are upset, but they are doing their job as well as they’ve ever done. I have no fear that they would allow anyone to get hurt.”
He said NYPD officers would be ready and available to respond to calls during the historically-violent Labor Day J'Ouvert celebration in the city.
On Thursday, almost 400 PBA delegates voted unanimously to pass “no confidence” resolutions against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill.