Ex-NYPD Official Concerned Return of Plainclothes Units May Revive Pain in Black Community
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The return of plainclothes police officers to the streets of New York City to combat gun violence may revive pain in Black communities, although some of the anti-crime programs have proven effective, former NYPD Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues told Sputnik.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced his anti-gun initiative this week dubbed a "Blueprint to End Gun Violence,’" which includes prevention and intervention strategies, cooperation with state and federal agencies and putting plainclothes units on the streets.
"I’m concerned about bringing plainclothes back - there is much hurt and pain in black and brown communities. It’s like bringing back the boogeyman," said Pegues, who worked with the New York Police Department for 21 years. "Every incident with black people being shot - like Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell - all involved plain clothes officers. There’s a lot of hurt and pain with people having to deal with that."
In addition to believing that this initiative will be a hard-sell for the police commissioner to get buy-in from the rank-and-file, Pegues said he is very concerned for members of the African American and Latino communities who have been scarred by the arbitrary and subjective nature of the city’s stop-and-frisk program.
Between 2004 and 2012, police officers made 4.4 million stops. More than 80 percent of those stopped, interrogated and searched were Blacks and Latinos but only 2 percent of those detained had a gun in their possession, according to civil rights groups.
By contrast, Pegues said, gun intervention efforts undertaken by the NYPD have proven effective, citing figures from last year which shows that police officers took thousands of guns out of the hands of criminals.
"Do you know that cops took more than 6,000 guns off the streets last year? That was done by an anti-crime team," he said. "But they disbanded them and had them put on uniforms. For me if it works, it works, they were getting it done. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it."
Pegues, who counts Adams as a very good friend, took the captains exam with him, said he hopes the mayor will be successful despite the philosophical difference of opinion the pair have on this issue.
Overall, Pegues said, he believes that the rollout will face challenges.
"I think he has a grandiose plan. It’s a very big plan with a lot of moving parts. It has to be incremental change," he said. "I don’t know if he’ll be able to do it. It offers a false sense of safety for people and will take a long time to implement. It has to bear fruits of labor to happen quickly. Things are going to happen. I just wish the rollout was quicker."