NY Cops Need Better Training
Remember the complaints about the mass arrests from the 2004 RNC demonstrations in New York? The complaints were justified.
The board's letter to Mr. Kelly on Tuesday echoed complaints voiced by demonstrators in the aftermath of the convention, Mr. Dunn said. "From the start, the mass arrests of protesters at the convention have been tainted by complaints that people were not given clear orders to disperse, were trying to cooperate with the police and were acting lawfully," he said. "This report from the C.C.R.B. [ed: Civilian Complaint Review Board], which is an official city agency, now shows that those complaints were entirely valid."
The demonstrators were peacefully assembling, trying to cooperate with police, but the police in America are not trained to treat citizens with respect in the exercise of their consitutional rights. They're trained to view citizens as threats and opponents.
The police commissioner, however, is not required to follow the recommendations of the board, which are for better training of handling large, peaceful crowds. It's up to Commissioner Kelly to determine what actions to take, but it sounds like he doesn't agree the police did anything wrong:
"And the implication that the N.Y.P.D. failed during the R.N.C.," he said Tuesday, "turns truth on its head."
"The policing of the R.N.C. was one of the Police Department's finest hours," Mr. Kelly continued.
How's this for a response, Mr. Kelly? "Overall the police department did an excellent job. Only 3 arrests out of 63 turned out to be improper. Even so, we have a responsibility not only to keep the peace and protect a citizen's body, we have a responsibility to protect a citizen's rights, and in 3 cases we failed. We will review our procedures to ensure that, in future, all our officers work with the public in securing their constitutional rights."
Sounds like the problems the police have with handling large, peaceful crowds starts at the top, with Commissioner Kelly's attitude.