New York City’s finest have had enough as the city ramps up its war on police. According to the head of the detective’s union, NYPD personnel are feeling abandoned by both the people they serve and the public officials that govern them.
“They feel abandoned by everyone,” Paul DiGiacomo, the president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association in New York, said. “There is no one supporting the police, from the governor to the mayor to the DAs to the city council.”
Police across the country have been targeted after a Minneapolis officer was responsible for the death of George Floyd during a criminal arrest. Protests have erupted in multiple cities over the past few weeks to call for criminal justice reform and greater accountability of police misconduct.
Protests quickly turned violent against the police force. In New York, two officers were shot, and another was stabbed during recent protests in the city. Four officers were shot in St. Louis last week during a night of civil unrest in which a retired police captain was also killed.
Videos also have captured law enforcement officers in violent confrontations with demonstrators. “Listen, when there is unrest and criminality out there, it never looks pretty,” said DiGiacomo, whose union has represented 19,000 active and retired detectives. “Resisting arrest never looks pretty. They never show you the whole video.”
“I challenge any elected officials who think they could do a better job with urine being thrown at them, bottles, and being shot at,” he added.
DiGiacomo also blamed local prosecutors for not pursuing suspects who assaulted detectives. The union was suing a Bronx man whom it accused of assaulting a detective during an arrest for the alleged looting of a CVS store in Manhattan.
“If you put your hands on a NYC detective, we will pursue the highest criminal charges possible, but the DAs don’t seem to want to, so we are going to pursue civil action,” he said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has essentially kicked law enforcement to the curb amidst calls by criminal justice advocates for defunding or disbanding police departments across the country. On Sunday he announced he was delivering a massive blow to the NYPD in the form of defunding. De Blasio also announced a series of proposed police reforms.
On Monday, New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said taking resources away from his department wasn’t a practical solution.
“I think cooler heads need to sit around a table and find a way out of this,” he said. “The usual thing I get hit at when I go to a community meeting is, ‘we want more cops.’ I think that is the general sentiment, but we are in a moment in time right now where we need all to come together.”
Defunding the country’s largest police department would make no sense, DiGiacomo said.
“The only people that will suffer will be the people of the city,” he added. “The NYPD is stopping crime and doing our job protecting people. Shootings are up. Homicides are up.”
Since the protests started two weeks ago, 720 complaints have been made against the NYPD, according to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the civilian body overseeing the police agency.
As of Sunday, nearly 300 New York officers had been injured in the ongoing riots.