Rory Lancman, the chairman of the City Council’s committee on the justice system, and the sponsor of the chokehold bill, said the police were grasping at everything they could to fight systemic changes from the outside. Chokeholds are already banned by the department, he noted, and the Council law has not yet taken effect.
The police commissioner “has been desperately looking anywhere but the mirror” to explain the rise in major crimes and shootings, he said. “It’s not serious, and if he cannot competently and safely keep New Yorkers safe, while adhering to the very same chokehold and knee restraints that are in the patrol guide, then it is definitely time for a new commissioner.”
Donovan Richards, the chairman of the City Council’s public safety committee, said that it is the job of the police to fight crime, and he said that the department appeared to be doing the opposite of what was needed to counter calls to cut its budget and head count.
“There’s a slowdown without a doubt, and N.Y.P.D. is allowing it,” he said in an interview. “We’ve seen what the N.Y.P.D. will do when they want to keep record low shootings over the course of the last few years. Every year, we’re breaking this record, we’re breaking this record. There’s not even an effort being made at this point.”
Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan, the police department’s top uniformed official, denied there was a slowdown.
John Eterno, a Molloy College professor and former city police captain, said there appeared to be a real and significant increase in shootings that is connected to officers’ sinking morale, given the barrage of criticism from politicians and the public.
“Many people have the idea that police feel very powerful with their badge and gun, and it’s the opposite,” he said. “So when you see a lack of support from a lot of places, not just from the community but also from politicians, I do think police do change their job and how they do it.”