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It is not an overstatement to say that for all the good work they've done, the NYPD's approach to misdemeanor marijuana possession over the last five decades is the department's defining legacy. It's not a good one: although low-level possession has been decriminalized since 1977, cops have used the stop-and-frisk policy to compel "suspects" to empty their pockets, exposing contraband to the public view, and possessors to arrest and a series of punishments, including...
The NYPD has caught a lot of flak following the July death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner at the hand of officer Daniel Pantaleo, most of which has centered on the controversial "broken windows" policy and the antagonistic culture it inculcates, both between cops and citizens, and within the minds of cops themselves. The aftermath of Garner's death has turned the heat up on the NYPD, in particular Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, a...
There are certain things we do in this city that we know might not be technically legal, but are tacitly acknowledged as acceptable, so we do them anyway. These things all come with varying degrees of risk (you probably won't get a ticket for jaywalking, but drinking a beer in the park is a little more dicey), however we take these risks because the benefits outweigh the potential—minimal—costs. As of late, though, due in...
Less than two weeks ago, Eric Garner—a 43-year-old father of six—was killed by an NYPD officer following a confrontation over Garner's practice of selling loose cigarettes. Garner, who was unarmed, suffered from asthma and repeatedly cried out "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" which the police officer ignored, continuing to restrain Garner in a chokehold until Garner was suffocated. While this is hardly a lone instance of police brutality—and, in fact, several other cases...

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