This is for real: A New York City police union wants to offer cash as an incentive for bystanders to put down their video recorders and help cops subdue suspects who resist arrest.
Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association in New York, lamented Wednesday that respect for cops has hit rock bottom. He somehow believes that offering people $500 rewards would encourage them to “do the right thing,” WCBS-TV reported.
That idea, however, didn’t go over so well in the city’s communities of color.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the Harlem-based National Action Network, was “disgusted but not surprised” by the proposal. He referred to the move as a reminder that people of color are undervalued and targeted.
“This attempt to exacerbate vigilante violence against Black and Brown people and now monetarily incentivize that violence is unconscionable,” the civil rights leader said.
Under the union’s proposal, Mullins recommended that bystanders identify themselves before jumping into a fight to aid officers. “Grab his hand or hold him down,” the union boss suggested, anything to help the officer get the job done.
But even the New York City Police Department, which helped to pioneer the racist “broken windows policy,” wants nothing to do with the police union’s idea.
“The NYPD encourages people to support their cops by calling 911,” a statement said. “The department doesn’t want to see people put in harm’s way unnecessarily to collect a reward.”
Other critics rejected the notion that the union’s proposal was about improving public safety.
“Instead, it is an attempt by police unions to seize on the dangerous and false right-wing narrative that police are under constant attack and use it to discourage the public from exercising their right to film encounters with the police to prevent abuse and hold them accountable,” said Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson Monifa Bandele.
Despite all the criticism, the union is working with retired police officer and Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Golden to draft legislation.