• Is It Right To Use Pictures Of City Homeless To Criticize De Blasio?

    A prominent New York City police union is taking aim at Mayor Bill de Blasio over what it calls failed policies by encouraging officers Monday to take pictures of homeless people.

    The New York Post reports that leadership within the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) notified its members about the campaign through an email. The goal is to show the victims of failed city policies by publishing photos of the homeless online. Though the email went out this week, the campaign and corresponding Flickr page has been ongoing since at least Aug. 5.

    “As you travel about the city of New York, please utilize your smartphones to photograph the homeless lying in our streets, aggressive panhandlers, people urinating in public or engaging in open-air drug activity, and quality-of-life offenses of every type,” the email from union president Ed Mullins stated. “Will notify our public officials in writing of what is being observed.”

    NYC Homeless 03. (Sergeants Benevolent Association)NYC Homeless (Sergeants Benevolent Association)

    Mullins has been a huge critic of the mayor but hopes the photo campaign will hold all public officials accountable. Especially for two years of what he sees as failed policies. The hundreds of photos posted so far show people passed out in the street, urinating in public, panhandling and even defecating. More are being added each day.

    “Shouldn’t accountability go both ways?” the email continued. “We, the ‘Good Guys,’ are sworn to protect our citizens. Shouldn’t our public officials be held to the same standard?”

    NYC Homeless 02. (Sergeants Benevolent Association)NYC Homeless (Sergeants Benevolent Association)

    A big point of contention between officers and city lawmakers is pending legislation which limits police authority. Some lawmakers have proposed measures that would require officers to get permission from a suspect before they could search them without probable cause for arrest. This, Mullins argues, is just wrong.

    “Attempts to pass self-promoting agendas are not the answer to building relationships with communities who don’t trust the police,” he added. “It only serves to lie to people who are trying to live life and share in a piece of the American Dream.”

     NYC Homeless 01. (Sergeants Benevolent Association)NYC Homeless (Sergeants Benevolent Association)

    The SBA though has been particularly upset with de Blasio, who became mayor of New York City in 2014. Though the mayor and the city police unions have had disagreements as far back as his campaign, it wasn’t until the death of Eric Garner when tensions got really bad.

    Daniel Pantaleo, a city police officer, allegedly choked Garner, a black man, to death on July 17, 2014. Garner was heard shouting that he couldn’t breathe as he was wrestled to the ground. The incident made national headlines and sparked a debate on police using excessive force and institutional racism. At the time Pantaleo caught Garner selling untaxed cigarettes.

    NYC Homeless 04. (Sergeants Benevolent Association)NYC Homeless (Sergeants Benevolent Association)

    In response to the incident, de Blasio seemed to allude that people, especially of color, should be scared of police. He mentioned during a speech that he tells his black son to be very careful whenever he encounters a police officer.

    Many police officers took offense to the comments. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association even issued a flier encouraging members to request that de Blasio not attend their funerals should they die in the line of duty.

    NYC Homeless 06. (Sergeants Benevolent Association)NYC Homeless (Sergeants Benevolent Association)

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