Ticketing Bias: Broken Windows and Summons Data

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A NYPD cruiser parked at the corner of Murray and Church streets in lower Manhattan. (Natalie Fertig/WNYC)

The Daily News has obtained data about summons (from the NYCLU) and found a racial disparity in how the tickets are given out. Rocco Parascandola, police bureau chief for the New York Daily Newstalks about the findings and how it fits into Broken Windows policing -- plus how it compares to the bias in Stop and Frisk.


Rocco Parascandola

Comments [54]


If there's one take away from the Eric Garner incident it's that those big black guys who try to act all intimidating are in fact not worth much. If you can last 10-20 seconds against them they will literally die of exhaustion!

Aug. 06 2014 02:06 PM
Coogan from NYC

John from office: Your blanket statement abased on what seems to be a deep seeded bigotry and ignorance is astonishing. You've come up with a few lame examples that seems to back up your assertion "they" (non-whites) need constant policing and mothering, because they are all so ignorant, have bad manners, aren't equal humans like cops are, have a lack of home parenting...

Where do I begin, mercy. Seems you only look for the bad in what "they" do, justify blanket minority targeting and have disdain for 'their' youth because of the lousy act of one teenager who carelessly littered in the subway, as if he represented all non-whites at it's core.

I have seen disgusting acts committed by whites every day, lewdness, littering, assault, fraud, harassment, graffiti, driving infractions, et c. If I were to list what I see everyday you'd be stunned. Furthermore, the friends I have and people I most admire happen to be Indian, black and latino. They have great jobs, Phd's, own a business, are polite, generous and honest. They too have experienced police harassment based only on their skin color. What do you say about that? How can you defend that?

Basically people are people, and yes culture in your immediate neighbor can naturally influence your habits, just as much as it can prompt you to fight any influence, better yourself and change things. Sad that cops are usually white, usually target minorities, and continue to "kick' people that are historically 'down', born at the bottom without resources you or I probably have/had, and tragically no matter how hard they work to dig their way out of that often working 2 o 3 p/t jobs to put themselves or a child thru college or vocational school, or aim for a better F/T job with benefits, they have to carry the unfair, added weight of police harassment just because of their skin color.

You should have to walk a day in their shoes John, that would shut up your clueless commentary real quick.

How entitled you seem, which in itself is a ghetto mentality that is sadly trapped in it's own world. That Popeyes fried chicken kid can redeem his ways quickly, learn to chuck trash in a bin not the tracks. What about you seemingly stuck in your mentality of 'those darkies are all bad'? If that's what you truly believe, get volunteering as a Big Brother and go change things for the better, be a good influence, make a difference. Spread your vast intelligence since you are such a moral, upstanding citizen that represents civilized, educated man. Gauntlet thrown sir, put up or shut up.

Aug. 06 2014 01:46 PM

One more thing: what about the law-abiding people who are stuck living among people who disregard these quality-of-life laws? They're the ones who really suffer and for whom this conversation is needed. I was able to move and to go home to a neighborhood of people who share my social values, but those doubly-disenfranchised people are stuck with those nightmare neighbors who just overrun the entire area with their across-the-board effluvium.

We as a society have a responsibility to look out for those in such situations - and there are a LOT of them - and ensure that they are receiving the BENEFITS of public service through responsible policing. It would be nice to hear a program on WNYC that takes THAT perspective for a change. Love, A Sustaining Member

Aug. 06 2014 12:55 PM

Man oh man, some people really are not able to have a frank conversation even about glaringly obvious problems and would prefer to derail things into the liberal weeds of social injustice. I used to live across the street from a fully Section 8 building in a "good" landmarked neighborhood with property values that were at the high end of the value range. The tenants in that building - and there was a high rotation of them over the three years I lived there - were consistently disruptive and at all hours, especially in the middle of the night: domestic violence that would actually spill out into the street, beer bottles hurled and smashed in the street, trash all over the property, stereo speakers placed in windows and blaring out into the neighborhood, hostilities and racial slurs yelled at the neighbors even as we just were walking by. It's not a race issue; it's about values. The Melting Pot can only work if the pot as a whole agrees and adheres to modes of public behavior that do not infringe on others' rights and their pursuit of happiness.

Campaign to warn, then ticket. Repeat until behavior modification is achieved. It's simple, effective, and most importantly stomps on no one's rights. End of story.

Aug. 06 2014 12:38 PM
mrnyc from the rich chinatown lol

To the chinatown argument there are plent of buildings over 100 years old that have poor people grandfathered in to affordable apartment leases paying a few hundred dollars a month... and plenty of upper class people paying a premium to live in a central downtown area. MEANWHILE across the bridge in the projects are plenty of people with there grandparents on the lease paying 320$ a month for rent and than paying 600$ a month with combined car payment and insurance on a nissan maxima or used bmw or maybe they are selling drugs and not reporting the income.... these are the same people using there EBT cards to buy a turkey sandwich at the deli instead of a bag of rice and vegetables to feed tgere whole family... Point is im not racist but i also think its OKAY for some areas to be policed more than others... after all if people need public assistance and to live in the projects WHY ARE THERE PARKING LOTS IN THEM when normal poor people living in the basement of a brownstone would have to fight over street parking if they were dumb enough to own a car in an urban area like bushwick

Aug. 06 2014 11:56 AM

Sheldon, I totally agree.

Bernie, my point was about Chinatown people, not all Chinese people. Bigggg difference. And sure, they are working their butts off to make a buck -- but as opposed to whom? -- that's what we're all doing. That doesn't make us poor; that makes us working class. Poor people need section 8 housing or homeless shelters, and welfare or food stamps, or other govt assistance. I bet you'd be shocked to see how much folks make collecting cans.

Aug. 06 2014 11:35 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Tom, you, I, and Mr. Lynch would agree that if Mr. Gardner did not resist arrest, he would still be alive but that doesn't absolve the cops from breaking their own guidelines, using a maneuver that probably resulted in a man's death.

Aug. 06 2014 11:26 AM
bernie from bklyn

your idea of what poor is so far from reality that it's almost funny.....chinese people are out hustling to make a buck any way they can. many people do need public assistance but can't get it so they collect cans, work the restaurants, supply shops, etc,etc...basically they're working their asses off to get by and barely make it...that's what poor is!

Aug. 06 2014 11:23 AM

Sheldon, I agree with your point, this man should not have been Killed, but the wife analogy does not hold water. A husband is not authorized by the voters through the govt to uphold laws that we allowed to be passed. husband = cop... NOT. There's a case to be made, but you did a horrible job of making it.

Aug. 06 2014 11:06 AM

This is a very simple issue: certain sub-cultural/cultural groups have some values/behaviors that are socially repugnant at best and unlawful at worst and we all are very well aware of what those values/behaviors are. If you don't want to be ticketed for urinating or spitting in public, then don't do it. For example, how much public urinating/spitting goes on in Brooklyn Heights? Relatively none, but there is MUCH more of it on the border with Downtown Brooklyn around the courthouse area and it surges during regular business hours when the population there is comprised mainly of sub-cultural/cultural groups who engage in these behaviors. And before anyone accuses this post as potentially racist, here's another example: how much more dog excrement can choke the streets of the East Village, Boerum Hill, the West Village?

These people are NOT going to learn from their culture because their sub/cultures simply don't have these values so it's up to society to teach them: cops should go on a widespread warning campaign and the Mayor's office should flood the entire city with informative advisements about it via direct mailings and all available media. And most importantly, the City needs to communicate that the warning campaign will become a summons campaign after let's say 90 days of the warning campaign's commencement. This way no one can say they didn't know.

There is nothing wrong with expecting people to behave appropriately and we need to stop automatically knee-jerking legitimate social concerns into the Race/Class Issue. This is a Quality of Life Issue and people who abide by these laws are beyond tired of the people who don't. Officially warn the City as a whole copiously, make sure it is understood that this will no longer be tolerated, and then TICKET. Then things will change.

Aug. 06 2014 11:04 AM

Why are we constantly reviewing the work history of the police and never mentioning the previous criminal activity of Eric Garner?

Aug. 06 2014 11:00 AM

Why do rich people litter so much and play loud music? Is it because they're drunk and disorderly on chardonnay? It's a shame they don't get ticketed for it.

Aug. 06 2014 11:00 AM
peter from lower east side

Police need to taget some areas more than others in bayside a strong police presence would be a waste of tax dollars... my grandmother lives there where houses are mostly single family units so if a homeowner or renter sits infront in the shade of there porch drinking a glass of wine or a 40ounce of old english they are not affecting anyones quality of life however if someone is in canarsie or crown heights drinking in the front it is most likely an aprtment building or multi-family unit so they are affecting the quality of life of the other poeple living there.... so YES IT IS FAIR some areas are targeted more than others... Also the more dense area with a guy getting drunk outside has higher risk associated with the dru k guy outside bc more people bump into him where as in bayside if theres a guy who gets drunk every day the 12 other homes on the block probably know to leave him alone and noone is bothered because he has a.front yard infront of him and noone has to step over him to get to there apartment

Aug. 06 2014 10:59 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Tom, you're using the "if my wife didn't provoke me - she would still be alive defense" - stop it. Everyone deserves their day in court, including this "upstanding" (Per Mr Lynch) cop, but waving at the camera as his "perp" laid dying on the street was despicable.

Aug. 06 2014 10:54 AM

Mark, no one said that Chinatown people are rich, but we have a different idea of what poor is. Isn't not working class. Poor is people who need $ from the govt to survive. That's not manhattan's chinatown.

Aug. 06 2014 10:53 AM
bernie from bklyn

yeah, parts of chinatown have been invaded by rich, white people but that's not the majority of what's happening there. certainly not in bklyn or point is that there are much less summonses given out in poor chinese neighborhoods because chinese kids aren't acting out on the streets. AND they are struggling even more than kids in black neighborhoods because of their inability to obtain much of the available public assistance.

Aug. 06 2014 10:53 AM
2e from New York, New York

My nephew (young college student hispanic looking) got two summonses on the same day -- Mother's Day, one going to work in the UWS and one coming back from work to Woodside (lives near the Woodside Housing Projects).
First summons , NYPD pulled him over and when they couldn't find any infraction gave him a summons for "unreasonable loud exhaust". Nephew and I (I went for support but wasn't allowed to go in) had to take a day off from work to go to community court, whereby the summons was dismissed. The other summons was for "improper turn" whereby my nephew turned on a left green arrow light, and the officer told him there is no left-turn light. Anyway, he got two court dates for that (for which we wrote Albany to which one is correct but haven't gotten a response), one has passed and the other is upcoming soon. My nephew doesn't want to go to that date as he feels defeated and can't afford to take another day off from work and had asked me to just pay whatever fine there is.

This is NYPDs tactic: hoping that the person(s) receiving the summonses will not show up, thus default to being "guilty" and pay the fine, or they will just pay the fine, regardless if they're not guilty, because they don't want to go through the trouble or don't have the time to attend the hearing.

My nephew used to have a good outlook on life -- energetic, optimistic and overall positive. But ever since these incidents, he now have a very cynical and jaded view of life at a young age in NYC being a minority and a disrespect and fear of NYPD. NYPD's motto is about C-P-R, Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect. But the NYPD is anything but those, esp. under Bratton's reign and if one is a minority. "Broken Windows" is just a variation of stop-and frisk.

Henceforth, it's good to be white, esp. white riches, in NYC, shielded by their skin (and wealth)color from the fear inflicted by the NYPD. They would never know what it's like being harassed by the authorities supposed to be protecting you. This in a country and a city where one is to be free and equal. I am just hoping karma will get them as definitely experience or education will not change NYPD. It's been like this, and it seems like it's getting worse everytime.

Aug. 06 2014 10:52 AM

Even Chinatown in Manhattan is poor. Do you think all those old geezers who pack the parks are hedge-fund managers or something? Or the people with little junk shops selling trinkets to tourists are making as much revenue as some Prada store?

Aug. 06 2014 10:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I've been on grand jury duty. We didn't indict any ham sandwiches. We had the chance to question the ADAs' statements & the witnesses', & we did, sometimes at length. We voted to indict when there was enough evidence to go on to trial (which was in the great majority of the cases), & we didn't when there wasn't.

Aug. 06 2014 10:47 AM

Flushing or Bklyn Chinatown I do not know about, but I do live on the edge of Manhattan's chinatown, so that I know about. No section 8 housing. low-wage work is there, but he folks who live there are not on unemployment. Very little welfare and govt assistance, because so many are not legal, but that doesn't mean they are poor. Many of the people who live there are different from the people who work there. So what's your point?

Aug. 06 2014 10:45 AM
bernie from bklyn

you've outed yourself as someone who knows nothing about nyc....chinatown is a rich area? really? how about flushing? or bklyn chinatown? upper class 'hood? you don't know what you're talking about.

Aug. 06 2014 10:39 AM

The PBA head is mad because the ME used a common term "chokehold."

Has some law been passed that makes it illegal for some professionals to use common language for acts commonly described in Army combat manuals, etc.???

Mr. Lynch made it clear that he does not trust his members to de-escalate a situation to avoid violenceWS.

Aug. 06 2014 10:35 AM

"Chinatown is a poor community." -- maybe somewhere else, but not the one in manhattan.

Aug. 06 2014 10:32 AM
Sabrina from Union Square NY

I live in the Union Square area. Lots of bars. Lots of white kids. Lots of drinking, drunks, pissing, screaming - I have NEVER seen the police much less seen anyone get stopped much less ticketed. And that is in spite of residents complaints and requests for control of this situation. And this doesn't even take into account all the noise and crowds in and around the bars themselves. This is quality of life, too. But nothing and no one conrols them.

Aug. 06 2014 10:30 AM

Nick, no one said he deserved to die, but you can't blame someone for stretching truth by stretching the truth yourself.

Aug. 06 2014 10:30 AM

Please send some of those spit police to western Jackson Heights. We are suffering a plague of "the phlegm of all nations". Coupled with the constant parade of uncovered flayed animal corpses being dragged through the streets, (is this legal in NYC?) this has got to be a serious health issue. As far as "cultural behavior" goes, why is cultural sensitivity always a one way concept? Shouldn't people who choose to leave one culture and settle in another show just a bit of "cultural sensitivity" to their new home. We see cops on the streets here, but they seem to just observe bad behavior off all kinds, including flagrant disregard of traffic laws. (U-turns in the middle of the block, driving backwards, etc.)

Aug. 06 2014 10:29 AM

Chinatown is a poor community.

Aug. 06 2014 10:29 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Pat LYNCH. Sometimes things are so obvious, we can't see them. Like Al Sharpton's conk?...Just observations.

Aug. 06 2014 10:26 AM
Nick from UWS

The PBA spokesman has relieved himself of being viewed as a rational person in basically stating that Eric Garner's death was justified because he resisted arrest for selling a cigarette. He's a psycho.

Aug. 06 2014 10:26 AM
john from office

Brian loves these "COPS BE BAD" segments, he is breathless.

Aug. 06 2014 10:25 AM
William from Manhattan

If you don't want to get busted for pissing in public, then don't piss in public. Same for boozing and illegal drug use.

For many years I lived in the East 90s and worked in the West 150s. The reason people get busted more often for breaking quality-of-life regulations in the West 150s is that people commit more violations there. It isn't race, it is cultural. Even traffic rules change. If someone turned left against the light through Park Avenue, people would go bananas. But it happens every minute of every day on Broadway above 125th Street.

Don't blame the police if there are problems when they are asked to patrol different communities with different norms of behavior.

Aug. 06 2014 10:24 AM
David from Yorkville

Open containers of beer? The Upper East side of Manhattan is plagued by swarms of beer-drinking 20-something white folks participating in "Bar Crawls" ostensibly for charities. These kids walk from participating bar to bar carrying open cups of beer WITH IMPUNITY.

I'm not saying they should be arrested. I'm asking why a man in Bed Stuy drinking beer on a stoop is when upscale East Side bar crawlers booze their way from bar to bar with nary a 19th Precinct officer taking notice.

Maybe our local cops are older and more experienced, better able to make good calls as to when active policing is appropriate - and what to ignore?

Aug. 06 2014 10:22 AM
Nick from UWS

Tom....yes, on second thought, you're right...the PBA guy was right. Eric Garner resisted arrest for selling a cigarette, therefore he deserved to die. I guess we're living in North Korea.

Aug. 06 2014 10:22 AM
Jack from Manhattan

I've worked in Harlem for seven years and particularly during the first 3-4 years "loose" (cigarettes) or untaxed packages of cigarettes, (usually Newport) were openly peddled on the street. All the vendors, to the best of my memory, were African or African Americans. In the 30+ years of living Washington Heights, (no, not Hudson Heights), I have never observed the open selling of cigarettes on the street. Just saying.

Aug. 06 2014 10:21 AM

Joel, "why not"? because it would be very expensive to pay cops to be in areas where crime doesn't happen.

Aug. 06 2014 10:21 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

We all know that life is not fair. Are the stats that way because certain infractions are more prone to be committed in certain neighborhoods? probably, but a middle-class couple, sipping a glass of wine in Prospect Park or on the stoop of their brownstone is FAR LESS LIKELY to get a ticket than a young black or hispanic male, drinking a bud on a park bench.

An immigrant delivery riding his bike on the side walk is FAR LESS LIKELY to get a ticket than if a young black/Hispanic man were to do the same thing.

Aug. 06 2014 10:20 AM
bernie from bklyn

could we expand studies like this to include groups like chinese, indian, pakistani, korean, mexican,etc.. communities? these areas are just as low on the socio-economic map, if not lower, being that lots of these groups can't obtain public assistance. these people aren't hassled by cops because they don't act out in the streets like they do in black neighborhoods.
anyone ever get mugged by a poor chinese kid? pakistani kid? nope...why ? because they have people in their lives who instruct them how to behave in society. that's it in a nutshell.

Aug. 06 2014 10:19 AM
chris cox from Red Hook, Brooklyn

During the Clinton years the push was for more police officers walking the beat or putting police officers on bicycles. This made police officers liaisons to the community. In the mid to late 90's there were officers in my Brooklyn neighborhood-- Carroll Gardens/Red Hook-- who were "bike cops" and a few who walked the beat. Now, they are all in cars, removed from the community. Is there a feeling that if police officers were woven into the neighborhood would there be better community policing and a different/better approach?

Aug. 06 2014 10:19 AM

Nick, is the PBA spokesperson wrong?

Aug. 06 2014 10:18 AM
Mike from Manahattan

Can't get through via phone. The DN is comparing summons issued to blacks and Hispanics
as disproportionate to whites. Did their survey address the Asian community which make up
a significant percentage of the city's populations? If yes, what are they? If not, why not?

Aug. 06 2014 10:18 AM
Joel from NYC

These statistics only show correlation. You need more experiments to find correlation.

Why not put equal numbers of cops, all of equal experience, in both "Low-crime" and "High-crime" precincts for a period long enough to draw a proper conclusion?

Aug. 06 2014 10:18 AM
Nick from UWS

Perception IS NOT REALITY. What a completely stupid statement.

Aug. 06 2014 10:18 AM

I'm so sad to hear this talked about in terms of the "black community" and the white community. That's not it. It's about the poor community vs. the rich community. If people were all green, we'd still have this problem, because poor people live differently. We're confusing class with race.

Aug. 06 2014 10:17 AM
mick from Inwood

Brian, please ask your guest if his statistics comparing minority to white summons reflect socio-economic status. The "broken windows" crimes like urinating on the street or selling cigarettes seem to be crimes of poor people who can't afford to "rent space" in a restaurant with an necessary order to use the restroom, or who need to make a few dollars to get bye. As Anatole France said, the law in its majesty forbids both the poor and millionaires to sleep under bridges. In the history of civil rights, policies that discriminatory effects have been considered wrong, if not as wrong as deliberately discriminatory (de jure) policies and laws. De Blasio seems to be addressing this, but we can't have cowboys putting themselves into a position where killing people is a possible outcome in the meantime.

Aug. 06 2014 10:14 AM
Nick from UWS

Not only that, but the spokesman for the PBA stated that if Eric Garner had not resisted arrest, this wouldn't have happened. Thereby stating that if someone resists arrest for a moronic trivial "offense" like selling a cigarette, the police are justified in executing that person on the spot. Shows you what kind of morons are speaking for the police.

Aug. 06 2014 10:14 AM
Sara from Bushwick

What I've noticed here in Bushwick is many more cops in general - particularly prominently planted on street corners in and around the projects.

Aug. 06 2014 10:12 AM
pliny from soho

i was mugged, a few years back, by teens
of color who were not only drunk but threatened us
with the bottles of beer they were carrying.
so stopping people who are drinking in public
does not seem so far fetched to me.

Aug. 06 2014 10:11 AM
mick from i

Brian, please ask your guest if his statistics comparing minority to white summons reflect socio-economic status. The "broken windows" crimes like urinating on the street or selling cigarettes seem to be crimes of poor people who can't afford to "rent space" in a restaurant with an necessary order to use the restroom, or who need to make a few dollars to get bye. As Anatole France said, the law in its majesty forbids both the poor and millionaires from sleeping under bridges. In the history of civil rights, policies that discriminatory effects have been considered wrong, if not as wrong as deliberately discriminatory (de jure) policies and laws.

Aug. 06 2014 10:10 AM
Nick from UWS

What a stupid study. How many guys are seen sitting on a stoop on Park Avenue openly drinking a beer? There are more summonses for those activities in poor neighborhoods because there are more bored, depressed unemployed people DOING those things in poor neighborhoods.

Aug. 06 2014 10:10 AM
John from NYC

I think that policing should stop real bad guys doing real bad things.

BUT when are we going to STOP criminalizing cultural behavior?

Some people gather outdoors and carry a beer can or joint. Get over it.

Aug. 06 2014 10:08 AM

When you decry a disparity between groups in ticketing by the police, you are assuming that the crimes are committed in equal measure by each group. Ha.

Aug. 06 2014 10:08 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Was Eric Garner actually selling loosies that day? We need to be clear.

Aug. 06 2014 10:03 AM

Forget about broken windows or eating and trashing subway.

Anybody who wears his pants below the area where the anal probe is inserted should be ticketed.

Aug. 06 2014 09:36 AM
john from office

Here we go again with the "COPS BE BAD" segments on WNYC. More Blacks and Hispanics are ticketed and/or stop by police because they are more inclined to be involved with and interact with police.

Once that interaction takes place, the lack of fathers and any sense of how to deal with an authority figure, results in tickets and arrests. "progressives" will not be happy until there is equal parity between blacks and whites in police contact, a dream that is total nonsense.

How about asking why there is a degree of dedain for authority in the black community and a lack of respect of authority figures, be they school teachers or the cop on the beat. That is the problem.

I saw a young man eating on the subway, once done with his order of popeyes fried chicken he proceeded to just drop the entire package to the subway tracks, with plenty of trash bins available. This is a lack of respect for themselves and their society and a lack of parenting at home. FACE IT.

We then turn to the police to control social misfits and failures.

Aug. 06 2014 07:31 AM

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