Reported by Nigel Boys
Following the murdër of Eric Garner after being put in a choke hold by a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, the department and its head, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (pictured) came under criticism for their excessive use of force.
According to civil rights advocates, Garner, a father of six, had allegedly been selling untaxed cigarettes on the streets of the city, and since he was unarmed when tackled, did not need to be put in a stranglehold to be detained. However, the police continued with their use of excessive force, which has been named a “broken windows” policy to hide the fact that they are really discriminating against minorities.
Bratton ordered a city council meeting to look into allegations that the department were condoning the actions of some police officers in their use of excessive force and declaring that it was a deterrent to stop further crime in the city.
At a meeting on Monday, Bratton spoke about other forms of alleged racial profiling within the NYPD, which it had been claimed had gone so far as to even harass street entertainers.
According to Bratton, the NYPD did not have a problem with people who dance on the streets to earn a living and did not unnecessarily disrupt them from their performances. He added that he believed they provided good entertainment and they would only interfere with them if they pose danger to themselves or others, such as dancing on the subway.
However, the Huffington Post happened to be outside City Hall the previous Friday (reporting on an unrelated event) when their cameras captured NYPD officers harassing a group of artists who had just finished their first performance of the day. Before they began their second act, the officer moved in, gave them a ticket for $100 and took away their portable speaker.
Apparently the dancers had broken a city law by not having a permit for playing amplified music in public.
According to Matthew Christian, co-founder of the advocacy group for New York City subway performers, BuskNY, acquiring a permit to play amplified music is ridiculous to say the least. He added that since street performers go where they believe they will make the most money from day to day, how can they apply for a permit weeks in advance?
Some believe that either Bratton doesn’t know what his police officers are actually doing on the streets or he is covering up to defend the departments “broken windows” policy.