Manhattan DA won't prosecute minor offenses

- Police Commissioner Bill Bratton tried to assure New Yorkers that broken windows policing will continue. However, he said it is going to be modified in Manhattan since crime is down in the city.

Some are concerned the city will slip back to the seedy days now that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said he will no longer prosecute certain quality-of-life offenses, including public urination, drinking in public, and littering. Instead of making arrests, police will issue violators a summons or a verbal warning.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bratton are on board. Bratton said that the department is telling officers that they have discretion. They don't have to arrest for everything and that sometime they can instead write a summons or a warning.

However, the commissioner said that if a violator does not respond to the summons, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Officials said the shift in policy will free up officers to concentrate on more serious crimes instead of getting bogged down in paperwork for minor offenses. The DA estimates that about 10,000 cases a year will be eliminated from criminal court.

Critics are blasting the change in policy. Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said the new initiative by Vance, de Blasio, and Bratton is: "hypocritical and comical at best. Their new belief that minor offenses pose no threat to public safety is contradictory to their past policing practices and philosophies."

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