Important Message from the DEA President Regarding Slate of Anti-Police BillsJune 24, 2020
First of all, thank you for the outstanding job you have all been doing these past several weeks in the wake of the protests and civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You have exhibited the utmost professionalism and incredible restraint under the most difficult circumstances, contrary to the false narrative put forth by those who wish us harm.
As you know, over our objections, our elected officials both here in the City and in Albany, bowing to political pressure, have recently passed numerous law enforcement-related bills which have now made our job even more dangerous and challenging. These laws include, but are not limited to, the following:
*the passage of NYC Administrative Code section 10-181 which criminalizes an officer’s restraint of an individual “in a manner that restricts the flow of air or blood by compressing the windpipe or the carotid arteries . . or sitting, kneeling or standing on the chest or back in a manner that compresses the diaphragm in the course of effecting or attempting to effect an arrest;”
* the repeal of Civil Rights Law 50-a and amendment of FOIL to allow for disclosure of police disciplinary records;
* adding Penal Law section 121.13-a – Aggravated Strangulation (neck restraints);
* adding Civil Rights Law section 28 – creating civil liability on an officer for failing to provide medical and mental health treatment to individuals in custody; and
*adding Administrative Code section 14-185 creating civil liability on an officer for “refusal to make a shield number or rank designation visible.”
Take the time to read these new laws. I am sure you will agree that there are numerous flaws and vague and ambiguous terms throughout the laws which pose significant and unacceptable risks to our members. Perhaps the most dangerous is the City Council’s criminalization of certain uses of force, without any explanation as to how in the real world of policing, a Police Officer lawfully takes an individual who is violent or resisting into custody. We have demanded that the Department immediately provide guidance and training to teach members how to comply with these provisions. We met yesterday with the Department to again ask for this training and hand delivered a written demand for such training. We are awaiting their response. Please find a copy of such demand HERE.
In the interim, consistent with your safety, your fellow Officers’ safety, and the safety of the law-abiding public, force should only be used in the most dire of circumstances. Otherwise, you expose yourself to criminal, civil and administrative liability. This is the clear message our elected officials have sent: they do not want criminals arrested; they do not want criminals in jail; they do not want the police to use any physical force on even the most dangerous of individuals; they want us to police in a purely reactive manner. We must be guided accordingly.
The DEA will always be here to support and protect our members’ rights. We will continue to press the Department to provide the necessary training. Until such guidance and training is received, however, please protect yourselves and stay safe always.
Paul DiGiacomo, President, and the DEA Board of Officers