NEW YORK - According to its most recent numbers released by New York City officials, the vast majority of summonses issued by the NYPD for violations of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions went to black or Hispanic people.
Between March 16 and May 5, the NYPD said it issued 374 summonses for acts likely to spread disease and violate emergency orders. Of those summonses, 193 respondents were black and 111 were Hispanic, meaning 81 percent of all respondents issued summonses were black or Hispanic.
Of the summonses, 17 social gathering incidents accounted for 163 of the summonses issued citywide. In Brooklyn, 206 summonses were issued, 121 of which were issued at 12 social gatherings. In the Bronx, 99 summonses were issued, 42 of which were at 5 social gatherings.
The NYPD has recently come under fire for a series of videos posted to social media showing violent encounters between members of the force and civilians in violation of the city’s social distancing rules. However, despite pressure to stop using police to enforce social distancing, Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by the practice on Thursday, saying: “We’re not going to sideline the NYPD."
“I am not making my decisions based on a very few interactions that were handled poorly or went bad," de Blasio said. "I’m making my decisions based on the millions of interactions that are going right.”
Police watchdogs say the recent incidents may indicate that officers are using social distancing during the pandemic as a pretext to harass people of color along the lines of stop and frisk, a practice curtailed in recent years in which officers stop people on the streets and search them for weapons.
With the Associated Press.