The New York Police Department says it’s transitioning its anti-crime units into other assignments including detective work and neighborhood policing.
NYPD Commissioner Dermont Shea said Monday (June 15) that the change will affect roughly 600 plainclothes officers in every precinct who will be reassigned as the department switches to focus on community-based efforts.
"Thankfully, here in New York City, angry demonstrations have turned peaceful. Thoughtful discussions about reform have emerged," Shea said during the afternoon news conference, according to NBC News. "We welcome reform, but we also believe that meaningful reform starts from within."
The commissioner said there will still be efforts made to get guns off the street, but targets of raids will be identified using technology, rather than subjective instinct on behalf of cops, which often leads to African American being disproportionality targeted. Shea also said the department has room to improve on how it handles public safety.
"This is 21st century policing. Intelligence, data, ShotSpotter, video would all be used to help fight crime,” Shea said. "I think it's time to move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains, we can do it with guile, we can move away from brute force.”
Shea said that the decision to introduce the new reforms was his and said he supports reforming police but still believes defunding the department is the wrong move. He also admits that a budget cut for the NYPD is not a part of his plan.
"I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of stop-question-and-frisk," Shea said.
This newest proposal comes as anti-police protests continue for the fourth week nationwide. The protests began after 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin on May 25. Four former officers have since been arrested and charged for their involvement in the 46-year-old’s death, including Chauvin, who was initially charged with third-degree murder and third degree manslaughter.
On June 3, Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison upgraded the charges against Chauvin to Second Degree murder for the death of Floyd on and also charged the three other officers involved, J Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane with aiding and abetting murder. The three officers were fired and have remained under investigation since the day after Floyd died.
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