The chief of the New York Police Department has told officers they shouldn’t fear accidentally breaking the state’s new chokehold ban.
During a closed-door CompStat meeting on Thursday, a deputy told Chief Terence Monahan that cops were worried about the new law, which prevents them from kneeling on a suspect’s chest or back during an arrest.
‘They’re concerned about [taking] a bag of crack off the right person, the right dealer, and their knee accidentally – unintentionally – going on their back,’ Deputy Chief Brian McGee said.
Monahan interrupted, saying officers shouldn’t be scared because the city’s district attorneys won’t prosecute, according to video obtained by the New York Post.
‘We can’t be afraid. We’ve got every [district attorney] come out and say they’re not going to charge that,’ Monahan told his colleagues.
‘We can’t be afraid to do what we do. We can’t walk away.’
Monahan then referenced an incident on the Brooklyn Bridge last week in which he was injured by a protester.
‘You know what? I wasn’t afraid when I was fighting the guy on the Brooklyn Bridge,’ Monahan told McGee.
‘We can’t be afraid. Do you know what happens?…What happens to afraid cops is they end up dead.’
The video obtained by the Post then appears to drown out Monahan’s words as officers begin speaking to each other.
City Councilman Rory Lancman, a staunch supporter of the chokehold ban, told the New York Daily News that he was appalled by Monahan’s comments.
‘I don’t know what’s worse: a roomful of NYPD commanders admitting that up until now no one has taken seriously the Department’s own Patrol Guide or the Chief of Department telling cops to ignore the law because he thinks district attorneys won’t enforce it,’ Lancman said.
Patrick Lynch, the head of the Police Benevolent Association, told the Daily News that Monahan is wrong about city prosecutors.
‘If every DA believes that, they need to say so publicly to the cops on the street,’ said Lynch.
‘Otherwise, we have to assume that we are risking arrest any time we lay hands on a criminal who won’t go quietly. Chief Monahan’s head-in-the-sand mentality isn’t helping us do our job.’
News of the meeting comes just one week after Monahan, two lieutenants and a sergeant were injured in two separate incidents on the Brooklyn Bridge.
According to an NYPD spokesperson, Monahan and other officers attempted to arrest someone who had jumped from the pedestrian walkway onto the bridge’s roadway during a Black Lives Matter march on July 15.
As the officers took the suspect into custody, an unidentified person in a purple shirt swung a long, thin object twice at the police.
The attack left a lieutenant and a sergeant with cuts to their scalps and Monahan with an injured hand, which is not believed to be broken.
The department shared the video clip on Twitter with the message: ‘Three officers violently attacked by protesters crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. The officers sustained serious injuries. This is not peaceful protest, this will not be tolerated.’
It also comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the department’s budget was being reduced by $1 billion.
De Blasio said the money will be allocated to other agencies including youth programs and social services.
Additionally, last month, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced he is disbanding the NYPD’s Anti-Crime Unit.
The Unit, made up of 600 undercover cops has been targeting illegal guns and local crime sprees, but has also been involved in more complaints and shootings than other units.
Meanwhile, crime continues to tick up in the city, data reveals.
According to statistics released earlier this month, June 2020, saw a 130 percent increase in shooting incidents across the city.
Burglaries rose by 118 percent and the number of auto thefts shot up by 51 percent citywide all while the NYPD had made around 40,000 fewer arrests this year in comparison with last year.