Today in shining moments of the New York Police Department, a witness reports that officers in police cruisers chased a group of black teenagers out of Park Slope, telling the kids through a loudspeaker to “get out of the neighborhood.” What’s that called again? Oh yeah, policed segregation. Nice work bringing Jim Crow to Park Slope, NYPD.
The report comes out of the the 78th Precinct’s Community Council meeting, in which Park Slope resident Sara Bennett relayed the details of the incident. According to the witness, DNAInfo reported, the incident occurred at 2:45 pm on September 22 on Ninth Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
“I was really really upset and disturbed, not by the kids, but by the way the police were yelling at them to get out of the neighborhood,” Bennett told police, adding that there was a group of five or six teenagers that a cruiser, its lights on, was pursuing. Commanding Officer Frank DiGiacomo wasn’t aware of that specific incident, but confirmed that police had been trawling the neighborhood to break up large groups of teenagers. The worry was that large groups of teenagers would lead to fights, assault, and robberies, as with several incidents at the Atlantic Center Mall.
But, as Bennett pointed out at the meeting, that patch of Park Slope is more than a mile away from the Atlantic Center Mall. In response, DiGiacomo said that “most of the crimes that happen in our command are from outside people committing the crimes.” Oh. OK. So because those teenagers are black, they are clearly not from the neighborhood? And there’s not much evidence that large groups of white teenagers are getting similar treatment.
“If you’re outside [the private] Berkeley Carroll school, you’re not yelling at kids to leave the neighborhood,” Bennett said at the meeting. “But if you’re outside John Jay Campus, you’re telling kids to leave the neighborhood, and it’s just something that feels really disrespectful to the young black youth in the neighborhood.”
Hard to argue with that. And the idea of trawling the neighborhood, yelling at groups of black teenagers for the crime of being outside in numbers more than two, frankly seems like a misguided effort on the NYPD’s part, and more than a little racist.