A march in memory of Eric Garner is planned for Saturday, August 23, with an estimated 15,000 people expected to attend.  The march will begin at the site of Garner’s death, on the corner of Victory Boulevard and Bay Street in Tompkinsville,  and end at the Staten Island District Attorney’s office.  The District Attorney (D.A.), recently announced that the case will be sent to the Grand Jury.  The march hopes to call attention to the issues of false arrest, police brutality, excessive force, and civil rights violations currently facing residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and the surrounding of New York City. In the wake of Mr. Garner’s death, community and religious leaders have been unified in their quest to overhaul the current system of policing by the New York City Police Department (NYPD).  Mayor de Blasio recently attended a round table meeting with Al Sharpton, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and others to discuss the Garner case and the rally. The Mayor spoke of a city struggling with long-held distrust of the police.   (Read more here).

There is a belief that the problems of excessive force, false arrest and police brutality can be solved by a return to community-based policing. With community-based policing, officers become familiar with the people they are charged with policing.  The NYPD would work within the community to build relationships in the hopes of deterring crime from occurring.  Studies show that community-based policing helps reduce violent crimes and mends relations between citizens and police forces. When citizens and the local officers “on the beat” become familiar with each other, they are more likely to exhibit respect and decrease the level of wrongful behavior on both sides.  In contrast, the “Broken Windows Theory” supported by today’s administration, emphasizes the need for the NYPD to use heavy handed tactics to stop even the most minor crimes. The theory leads to an “us versus them” mentality which fosters a disregard of due process and an increase of constitutional violations. Under “broken windows”, the writing of violations is the most frequent activity of the NYPD. According to a recent article in the New York Daily News, about  81% of the 7.3 million summonses issued  between 2001 and 2013 were issued to African-Americans and Hispanics. An East Harlem resident who was issued a summons noted, “My neighborhood is like it’s under martial law. We got all these rookie officers on each corner. These officers, they just run around and ask you for any excuse to ask you for your ID and write you a summons.” (Read more: HERE). This strengthens the contention that the NYPD is racially profiling in its policing in New York City.  With community policing, officers would get out into the neighborhood to find ways to stop crimes before they happen, instead of reacting afterward or spending the day issuing summonses.

A 1999 case study of two Bronx neighborhoods demonstrates a decrease in police brutality with the onset of community-based policing. The study showed that police commanders in the two neighborhoods were able to reduce complaints against their officers while experiencing a decline in crime. This was achieved because commanding officers focused on improving community relations and on the supervision of their officers. Real consequences followed if officers received civilian complaints. Young officers who showed bad attitudes were paired with veterans.   Commanders in the two precincts attended community council meetings and addressed community concerns. Patrol officers assigned to beats in these two precincts introduced themselves to community members fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect.  (Read more: HERE.  Community-based policing can help decrease the incidence of civil rights violations. When community-based policing is executed properly, incidents of unarmed civilians being shot through wrongful discharge of weapons can be non-existent. Officers can uphold the law without resorting to excessive force or police brutality.



The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff concentrates in cases involving false arrests, illegal search and seizures, police brutality, disregard of due process and excessive force.  We practice in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island and the surrounding counties. If you have any questions about an encounter with the police or a civil rights violation that happened to you or a loved one, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, PLLC. Our website is www.msllegal.com and you may contact us here via e-mail or call one of our lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, PLLC at 212-962-1020 (toll free at 877-MSL-4LAW or 877-675-4529) to schedule a free initial consultation. Our attorneys are here to help you