According to reports, New York Police Department officers have begun refusing to make arrests in the wake of the murders of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, out of fear for their own safety and in response to what they feel is a lack of support from Mayor Bill de Blasio. In what is being called a “virtual work stoppage,” officers are consciously cutting down on low-level arrests and issuing fewer citations.
Since the announcement of a non-indictment for the officer responsible in the death of Eric Garner, tensions in the city have been high between the police and minority communities. The officers' murder in December, according to the man responsible, was an attempt to avenge Garner’s death.
Throughout the past two weeks, traffic citations have decreased by 94 percent, drug-related arrests are down 84 percent and parking violations have decreased by 92 percent. Overall, there has been a 66 percent decrease in arrests since the murders.
“I’m not writing any summonses. Do you think I’m going to stand there so someone can shoot me or hit me in the head with an ax?” an officer told the New York Post. “I’m concerned about my safety. I want to go to home to my wife and kids.”
The stoppage began after a memo from the police union was distributed among rank-and-file officers, instructing them to stop making arrests unless “absolutely necessary.”
“Absolutely NO law enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and unless an individual must be placed under arrest,” the memo, obtained by AOL, read.
NYPD has reportedly distanced itself from the memo despite the sudden decrease in arrests, calling it a “work of fiction.”