So, convenient timing: now that he’s fighting misdemeanor charges for sale and possession of $30 of marijuana, notorious subway vigilante Bernie (“Burnie”) Goetz has declared New York’s war on crime to be over, and thinks the NYPD should really just lay off. “This type of hysterical war on crime, which I helped start 30 years ago, is just no longer appropriate,” said Goetz outside a Manhattan court after rejecting a deal that would’ve let him off with ten days of community service. “The war on crime actually was won 10 years ago. What you need is a general police attitude that people in New York are well behaved.” Still though, he seems to remain convinced he’s being mugged at all times (and is also a newly minted vegetarian!).
Much like the first time he got into major legal trouble, Goetz is now claiming that he sold marijuana to an undercover officer because he was convinced he was about to be robbed. “I’m looking at his hands, his face, his eyes, I thought he was going to attack me,” Goetz said. Now, we’re all for the NYPD laying off on pot charges, obviously, but as far as any kind of even-handed assessment of the state of New York’s criminal justice system we’d… maybe look to someone other than Bernie Goetz. But only maybe.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.