Ad-hoc group “New Yorkers Against Bratton” held a press conference outside City Hall Monday, demanding that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton resign over Eric Garner‘s death due to his controversial Broken Windows theory.
“We’re out here today in response to the chokehold death of Staten Island Father and Grandfather Eric Garner,” said Josmar Truijillo (pictured center), one of the group’s leaders. “And we’re calling for the resignation of NYPD Commissioner Bratton, an end to Broken Windows policing, and a federal investigation in to the NYPD’s culture of brutality.”
Watch Josmar Truijillo speak here:
Truijillo then focused on “Broken Windows” that states that by targeting low-level quality-of-life issues, larger crimes can be prevented down the line. Responding officers were reportedly stopping Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes.
“It is a policy and a theory that is broken,” he added. “It criminalizes thousands and thousands of New Yorkers. Mr. Garner’s death just brought life to the situation. Unfortunately for him, it ended with his death.”
“What Commissioner Bratton has shown is that he is unable to control his own police officers, and he has never done anything to address the systemic brutality that keeps on happening to low-income predominantly people of color in New York City. Another Black man is dead at the hands of the NYPD.”
“Yesterday, we [were] there with [Garner's] son TJ. We are there supporting the family, and we’re gonna continue to go there every single day,” added Jose LaSalle, a well-known community activist and founder of the Stop Stop and Frisk movement. “New Yorkers Against Bratton, CPU Copwatch Patrol Unit — we’re gonna go there; we’re gonna stay in that community until these people realize it’s time for them to rise up and make sure that they look after one another.”
Alex Vitale (pictured in background two people left of Truijillo), a sociologist at CUNY’s Brooklyn College, further elaborated on Broken Windows. “Academic evidence is clear: there’s very little support for the idea that Broken Windows policing itself is responsible for the crime drop,” Vitale said, rebuking Bratton’s numerous claims the policy was responsible for the city’s declining crime rate in the ’90s.
“The crime drop is a national and international phenomena. It’s been happening in cities that have never used Broken Windows. Broken Windows policing is great if you’re trying to get rid of the squeegee men, if you’re trying to get rid of homeless panhandlers, if you’re trying to get rid of performers on the subway, but that has nothing to do with myriad crime.”
Vitale also wrote a recent op-0ed about Broken Windows for the New York Daily News.
Truijillo also briefly spoke on the banned chokehold used on Garner. “Why does the NYPD see fit to throw someone in a chokehold over 50 cent cigarettes?” he asked. “It’s not just that harassment or inconvenience of being stopped. There are real physical threats to our bodies every single day, and until you live in our communities, you won’t know that reality.”
Garner was put in a chokehold by Daniel Pantaleo last Thursday, after being wrestled to the ground by four other police officers, and even though Garner yelled out that he could not breathe, he was attacked until he became unconscious. Soon after, he died of cardiac arrest.