NYPD’s Chief Says He Doesn’t “Believe Racism Plays A Role” In New York Policing

Chief Terence Monahan, center, kneels with protestors.Screengrab / CNN / YouTube

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Chief Monahan asserted that bad actors in his department are removed. 100 police are fired from the NYPD every year.

“CBS This Morning” reports that Chief of Department Terence Monahan has expressed that he understands the anger driving protests related to George Floyd’s death, but that he nevertheless does not “believe racism plays a role in New York” policing.

  • Newsday reports that on June 1, Monahan publicly met with demonstrators, defusing tension when he knelt with them in solidarity and hugged at least one protestor.
  • Nevertheless, in an appearance on “CBS This Morning,” Monahan said, “What happened in Minnesota was an outrage, completely and totally. But 800,000 law enforcement officers around this country are paying the price for what that guy did in Minnesota.”
  • He also denounced any physical violence, looting, and property destruction. “Protest, yell, scream, let your rage out, but don't take your rage out on the community, destroy the businesses that actually employ members of this community,” he said.
  • Monahan said that the difference between a peaceful protest and an out-of-control riot lied in “bottles and rocks thrown at my cops, windows being broken, stores being looted.”
  • Co-host Tony Dokoupil asked Monahan about criticism against New York City police for using excessive force in their actions against rioting. Monahan defended himself by saying, “You have to look at the entire incident. You have to look at the rocks being thrown, the injuries to my officers, what happened before… we had a commanding officer trapped in his car, his last transmission was, ‘This may be my last transmission,’ dragged out of that car. This is what's going through a cop's mind as he gets surrounded."

Shataysha Byrd, a demonstrator in New York City, disagreed and said that she did not believe that police were looking to de-escalate tensions.

I mean, you see them behind us, right? I came today in flip-flops, ripped jeans and a shirt. I have no need or no desire to want to fight, to want to get pepper-sprayed down, to want to be tied, but I am prepared because I will fight for my people by any means necessary.

  • Dokoupil also spoke with Deputy Chief Edward Mullane. Mullane said that from his view through surveillance cameras, “This is mob mentality. This has nothing to do with peaceful protests, trying to right injustice.”
  • Dokoupil asked Mullane for his thoughts on otherwise peaceful protestors walking down city streets. Mullane answered, “We don't like people walking in the middle of the street. We like the rights of everybody else who wants to drive in Manhattan.”

Dokoupil also asked Monahan directly about systemic racism in policing. He said, “What role does racism play in these outcomes where you have black men dying at a greater rate than other populations at the hands of police?”

Monahan replied, “I don't believe racism plays a role in New York. I can only speak for what I've seen in New York City.”

Dokoupil pressed further. “And yet, you've got these outcomes. And if those protesters heard you say that racism doesn't play a role, that's why they're here. That's why they're angry. They don't think you get it,” he said.

Monahan continued to defend the New York Police Department. He said,

I would never say that we are a racist police department. Absolutely not. Have incidents happened? Maybe there was a racist incident, something, and that person has been removed from this agency? Absolutely. We all care about the communities we work in. We care deeply in the minority communities, the cops that work there, each and every day.

In the video segment, Dokoupil said that because the majority of officers in the New York Police Department identify with racial minorities, the issue can appear complicated. He added that Monahn told him that officers frequently face repercussions for bad conduct, and that about 100 officers are fired each year.

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