At a city council meeting last night, NYPD 78th precinct commanding officer Frank DiGiacomo told attendees that recently arrested suspects in a string of Park Slope muggings are "bike-riding teenagers." Based on his comments, it appears that DiGiacomo was inferring that the suspects are white kids from “good families.”
Police have arrested three of the five boys that they believe are responsible for up to eight recent cellphone robberies. When DiGiacomo commented on the arrests, he said, “Most of these kids are from good families…They weren’t coming from bad areas around the city.” He later added that the suspected criminals are kids “from around the neighborhood” with “good parents” who are “doctors and lawyers.”
The rhetoric has spurred some outlets covering the story to assert that what DiGiacomo meant by his comments are that the serial muggers are white kids, somehow making this string of muggings less dangerous or criminal.
People have taken to Twitter to express their anger with DiGiacomo's choice of words:
Word choice is significant, and it's not a stretch to imagine that if the criminals were Black, the word "thug" would have been used instead.
(Photo: NYPD 78th Precinct)