December 4, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good afternoon, everyone. The decision by the grand jury, yesterday, obviously has focused so much attention in this city, so much attention in this nation, on the relationship between police and community. And fundamental questions are being asked, and rightfully so, about how we respect people's rights, how we reduce the use of the force and the relationship between police and community, and each encounter between police and community – how we get it right, how we move forward together.
This tragedy is raising a lot of tough questions, but there's tremendous resolve here in this city to answer those questions – to get it right, to move forward. There's tremendous resolve here at the NYPD to find a way to draw closer to the community, to do things a different way, to do things in a new way.
This academy, this extraordinary facility, is to me a symbol of the future of this police force and the positive future of its relationship with the community. Here, in the training we just saw, seeds are being planted for a very different reality. And there's a new group of leaders here who have a vision for creating a partnership, creating a reality that instills trust in the dynamics between police and community. We need to build that trust, and people here are working on that every single day, and I want to commend them for that.
A lot of people demonstrated last night. They expressed their first amendment rights. Overwhelmingly, the demonstrations were peaceful, and I want to say, the response by the NYPD was exactly the right one. It was smart, it was strategic, it was agile – a lot of restraint was shown. When necessary, arrests were made. But you saw a very peaceful night in New York City. Despite the frustration and the pain that so many people are feeling, you saw a peaceful protest. You saw a minimum of disruption. I give credit to everyone involved, but I particularly give credit to the NYPD for having managed the situation so appropriately.
Again, a city of 8.4 million people, emotions tremendously high – there were only 80 arrests last night, a vast majority of those on minor charges. And it's an example of how this city respects people's rights, respects their right to raise their voices, and understands that's part of what makes us a democracy. We are proud of how we respect protests. We think this is the right way to do things. We will not tolerate – as we said yesterday – we will not tolerate violence or disorder. But we think by showing respect for the democratic process, it's one of the right ways of setting a tone that keeps the protests peaceful. I emphasize that the Garner family has spoken powerfully on the need to keep the peace. Michael Brown's family has spoken powerfully on this point. The message from the people who are hurting the most is that violence will do no good. It will only set back the cause of reform. I think a lot of people last night heard that message loud and clear, and comported themselves appropriately. But I do ask everyone – all New Yorkers, and all of our visitors in this town – to respect the memory of Eric Garner, respect the memory of Michael Brown, to respect their families by expressing yourself only in peaceful means.
You're going to hear in a few minutes from Commissioner Bratton and several other key members of his team. I'd like to acknowledge some others, and thank them for their extraordinary efforts, particularly in the last 24 hours. I want to thank our Chief of Department Jimmy O'Neill, who I think did a fantastic job managing the situation last night. I'd like to thank our Deputy Commissioner John Miller; Assistant Chief Theresa Shortell, who's also the commanding officer at the academy; Richard Dee, deputy inspector and executive officer for the academy; and again, you'll hear from Commissioner Bratton, First Deputy Commissioner Tucker, and Deputy Commissioner Julian in just a few minutes.
So, a lot of people – as I said yesterday – felt a lot of pain, a lot of frustration. My message to the people is take that pain and frustration and work for change. The relationship between police and community has to change. The way we go about policing has to change. It has to change in this city. It has to change in this country. I am fundamentally convinced it will change. People who feel aggrieved are asking for something simple – they're asking for the notion of a society in which everyone is treated equally. It's a fundamental American value. People want to believe in their core that they will be treated like their neighbor, or like someone in a totally different neighborhood, regardless of the color of skin, or what religion they are, or what they look like, they will be treated the same – that is what people deeply desire. They want to know that they'll be safe, and they want to know that if they ever have an encounter with the police, that they will be respected in that encounter.
All of us have such respect for the work our police do. It's the basis, again, of a democratic society that our police keep order, and allow a democratic society to function. And everyone needs to know that they’ll be treated the same, regardless of who they are. That’s what we aspire to. They need to know that, in doing this crucial work, our police will always – with every fiber of their beings – avoid any needless injury, and God forbid, avoid any death that could have been stopped. People need to know that, they need to feel that. That’s part of what we have to reach. People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives. It’s what we still have to aspire to. I said it yesterday, I believe it – this is not just a problem in New York City, it’s an American problem, an American challenge. It’s an issue that goes back the founding of this republic that we still haven’t resolved. Our generation has to resolve it. The leaders you see around me — we are all responsible now. The weight of history can’t be our excuse.
And I’ve said that I feel these issues very, very personally. It’s something that’s a powerful current running through our family. And in the stories that I’ve heard from members of my family from previous generations and the challenges we face — Chirlane and I face – as parents. This is personal. We can see through the eyes of so many of our fellow New Yorkers. And all we want — all of us together — is to know that everyone would be kept safe. That’s what it comes down to – and particularly that our young people, who are learning life’s lessons, will be safe while they go through that process of maturing. What every parents yearns for is that their children get to go through their childhood and learn the lessons they need and be ready for the world up ahead. God forbid that we would lose any child before they complete that journey, before they’re equipped with the tools to live.
So, so many people were aggrieved yesterday. I’ve made clear my message to them, and again want to emphasize, yesterday was one chapter. There are other chapters ahead. You will hear about this more today. I mentioned last night the call I received from the Attorney General of the United States, emphasizing that the U.S. Attorney’s process in this case would move expeditiously and independently. You’ll hear more from Commissioner Bratton about the NYPD’s own investigation in this matter, which I know will be thorough and fair.
But, through all the pain and the frustration, I will keep saying what I know to be true — reform is happening here in New York City. It is happening already before our very eyes – tangibly, meaningfully – and it has only just begun. There is much more ahead. I've – had used the example of the decision by Commissioner Bratton to move for a full retraining of the police force after the death of Eric Garner. This is not the decision of a typical leader. This is the decision of an extraordinary leader. This commissioner understood that something had to be addressed fundamentally. And the training that’s going to happen here in this building will change the future of this city. It will have not just an impact on thousands of people, it will have an impact on millions of people, because every interaction that every officer has with their fellow New Yorkers after they are trained again will be different. And that will multiply many times over, for years and years to come and a whole new generation of officers will be trained with a new approach. It’s something we’ve never seen before.
And I understand anyone who is doubtful about change — anyone who is cynical about our democratic process. But I’d also say history teaches us that many times change is real. Something that started by people of good faith, and visionary leaders like our commissioner, takes hold and multiplies and changes people’s lives. We have a lot of evidence of that through history. But one of the focal points here at the academy, will be changing how our officers talk with residents of this city – changing how they listen; slowing down some interactions that sometimes escalate too quickly, giving officers a chance to wait until backup and supervision comes; deescalating; using less force whenever possible. These are fundamental lessons that will be taught here. Even in the brief example I saw earlier, you could see the power of an experienced instructor helping officers to realize there’s some better ways to do things.
You'll hear from First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker. Until his promotion last month, Ben was the architect of a lot of the training efforts that you're seeing here, and also in the curriculum of the academy for new recruits. He'll continue to lead those efforts and make sure that this new training produces the changes we need. And you'll hear from him in a moment. I think, as a man who grew up in this city and chose this profession early on in his life, Ben can talk to you about what it means to change the training – he can talk to you about it from both the viewpoint of the police and from the viewpoint of the community, and how foundational a change in training is to everything that comes thereafter. Commissioner Bratton will also talk about the ongoing work that he does to bring in community leaders and listen to what they suggest – this is another hallmark of this commissioner. When we first started working together, I often had the experience that I’d call him, he’d be in the middle of a meeting, he’d call me back and say he was meeting with one group of community leaders, another group of faith leaders, civil liberties leaders. He was always seeking out people who had concerns, both to explain to them his vision for change but also to find out what they knew, to make them a part of the process. And we will deepen that, in terms of training, through a community advisory board that will help bring the voices of communities into the training process. And again, Commissioner Bratton will speak to that in a moment. The retraining is one of the most foundational things we can do. It will create a momentum for change on top of the change in the stop and frisk policy, on top of the change in the marijuana arrest policy, on top of the changes we’ve made with the CCRB and inspector general, on top of the new effort to pilot body cameras. If we’re serious about change, we understand it can only be achieved with the people we serve. And we understand change requires many elements. What I’m describing to you is a series of reforms that all work together, that synergize to change the dynamic between police and community. And we are moving each and every one of them aggressively and energetically.
I said last year that we had to achieve this mission. I am more convinced than ever, even in this difficult moment, I am more convinced than ever we will achieve this mission. I am convinced that we have the talent and the leadership. We have the will. We have the tools. We have the will of the people urging us on. And I’ve said this to many people who have felt unheard, that they should recognize how much their voices mattered in these last months and in these last years, because these changes are happening because the people demanded it. And that should be a reason for people to have faith – the process of democracy is functioning. With the help of everyday New Yorkers, with the close partnership of all the members of this department, we will get there.
I want to say a few words in Spanish before I introduce Commissioner Bratton.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, I want to welcome forward Commissioner Bratton and, again, congratulate him — and thank him for the way the NYPD has handled the last 24 hours. I think it’s been something the nation has watched — a huge amount of protest, peaceful and democratic, the way it should be. And I give great credit to Commissioner Bratton and his team for the wok they have been doing — Commissioner Bratton.
Police Commissioner Bratton: Good afternoon. Welcome. I’d like to extend a welcome to the borough presidents from Brooklyn and Queens, who I think are here for the first time and will hopefully come back in January when we formally open up. So the media — many of you here for the second time in two days — welcome. Hopefully the next time that you come, our restaurant downstairs — one the largest in the city, seating 800 — will be open. We’ll be able to offer you some refreshments at that time. It’ll be an encouragement to come back.
I’d like to thank the mayor, certainly, for his very generous comments, but extend those comments to the men and women of the department — the thousands of them that, last night, and again today, and I’m sure again this evening, have really, in the face of a lot of — as they mayor’s pointed out — anger and frustration, have performed as we would expected them to perform — professionally. Even though a lot of the invective and the sentiments were directed against them while they were on those fence lines, they dealt with it and dealt with it professionally.
As the mayor referenced, we had a total of 83 arrests last evening. During the course of those events — no significant acts of vandalism, no violence. And so the evening, which was intended, first and foremost, to protect the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center that attracts so much national and international attention — that that went off very, very well – so that those watching from around the country, and around the world, were actually unaware of a lot of what was going on the perimeters of that event.
What I’d like to do today is expose you to some of the training that is being conducted in this Academy — has been underway for a while and will expand dramatically in the months ahead, where we will be training almost 22,000 police officers — retraining on a three-day course. The charts in back of us – to my right – to your left — charts outlining those three days of instruction that are going on. The principal architect — or two of the principle architects — the now First Deputy Commissioner — formally the Deputy Commissioner for Training, Ben Tucker, and his replacement as Deputy Commissioner for Training, Mike Julian. Both of them are going to briefly address you and identify what’s going on here in the Academy in the course of these three days of training for officers in the department and I think it’s a fulfillment that I made coming in as commissioner and that mayor embraced wholeheartedly. The need to refocus the department — and to refocus it requires training. And the enchainment of skills was so necessary to reach the commitment that we make to the community to police fairly, impartially, and safety.
So, with that, if I could ask Commissioner Tucker to come up and fill you in on what’s been going on here and the very exciting things that are happening here.
First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker: Thank you, commissioner. So as the mayor indicated — interesting times and things are, which respect to training, going extremely well. We are, with the Academy, involved in some training changes and a broad landscape of training initiatives. So it’s just a — in terms of contrast — I think it’s important to note that for the last 50 years, the New York City Police Department training has taken place primarily out of 20th Street — 235 East 20th Street in Manhattan here. And they’ve done — our training staff has continued over these 50 years to do any extraordinary job in training our officers. This building that we’re in right now is an extraordinary step forward — three quarters of a million square feet. We have — those of you who may have seen the building, to those who have not — it is an opportunity for us to train out police officers in a very different way as the police commissioner and the mayor both indicated. And it gives us an opportunity to make our officers even more effective and raise the bar in terms of the training that we’ve done.
And so, we started in March and — let me just talk about what we’ve done since then. So we’ve developed the Partner Officer Program — I wanted to remind you of that — to provide post-Academy field training for our officers — our recruits who are finishing the Academy. Our probationary office needed to establish some sort of felt presence, which is intended in their communities — intended to raise the level of community trust and confidence and collaboration. And so, two important — and I think essential – pieces of that Partner Officer Program I want to mention. One is the assignment of senior partner officers — senior officers who would be the mentors for our new graduates as they are assigned to their new commands. There’s a real strong recognition that we needed to have those officers who are recently leaving the Academy, who now are in their field — assignments need to get their [inaudible]. And so, very practical approach. Something we’ve not had in the department for quite some time and we’ve created, I think, a program that will go extremely well.
The other essential point that I would make, with respect to the component — and that is our Community Partners Program. We enlisted the help of citizens from various communities where the officers in our last class — they graduated this past June — when they went to their 12 or so impact commands. We enlisted citizens from those communities where the probationary officers are assigned, and we asked these citizens to host our officers when they arrive in those commands. And what I mean by host is — if those officers would be introduced to the culture of that community, have an understanding of the issues in that community — in those communities — work on and attend events in those communities, get to know the business community as well as the schools and so forth.
So we have 607 officers that are out there — assigned with the partner officers — and the feedback has been pretty extraordinary in terms of the impact that that’s had in many of these locations. So we are continuing that as we roll out the next full-blown field training program with the current class of 918 officers who will graduate at the end of this month. And every class from then forward will — two things will happen. When they leave the Academy, they will leave with field support through the program and they will also go to precincts, as opposed to the impact zones — to the most violent and challenging neighborhoods — as has been the case in the past. So that will be — I think put us in position to have our officers get a much broader exposure and understanding of what police work is really like.
Now I want to move on and talk a little bit about the other promise that we made, and Commissioner Bratton referenced it. That is the training our 20,000 member patrol force. Patrol force — we’re going to be training 16,000 police officers, roughly 2,500 sergeants, and another 900 or so lieutenants — all members of the patrol force. And this training is designed to change and to enhance the capacity of those members to engage in positive police-community interactions, while also maintaining police officer safety. One of the challenges that we faced is this disconnect between our communities — local communities – and our police officers. And the training that we’re going to be conducting, both in the — through the field training program, but also in our recruit training, as well as our ongoing in-service training, will focus in every way on how we can get our officers to engage with communities, have a felt presence that makes a difference, that builds trust.
So we’re training the members of the service by platoon. And this is an interesting and, I think, an important point to make because that’s not been done in the past. So, the officers that we bring in for training from these precincts — you’ll have police officers, you’ll have sergeants, you’ll have lieutenants, and supervisors all being trained together. These are officers that work together. The logic is that if they work together, we train them together, they’ll perform as a team together much more effectively when they’re back in their commands, in every respect. So we are moving in that direction.
So, let me talk about the three charts that we referenced earlier. And I’m just going to outline those charts — and I think we’re going to provide you with copies of the information on the charts. But I wanted to just walk you through and give you a sense of what we intend to do with the three-day training that we’re talking about. And this is in-service training for the entire patrol force. We’ve begun that earlier this month and we hope to complete it sometime in June.
So, day one — we’re talking about foundations of policing and — I’m not going to go through all of what’s there, but the goal here is to provide information to our young officers that speak to who they are. You know, we do a better job if we feel good about who we are — pay attention to our health and our well-being. And also, we want to provide them with — part of that foundation is provide them with a variety of tools that they can use in a variety of ways as they work in their communities. So we want to enhance officer safety, officer health, and well-being. We want to reduce incidents — the incidents of inappropriate use of force, with an emphasis on talking people into compliance as opposed to taking people down and going to physical, hands-on use of force if there’s possibility that that can be avoided.
We also want to strengthen their problem-solving skills. Really incredible to have those skills and be able to think through how to approach a particular challenge that they face while they’re on patrol. We also want to look at and strengthen their resilience and their positive — their ability to be positive and have positive social engagements. Also — very important — and you may have recognized a common theme here, but this is incredibly important because when we talk about how do we build trust, we build trust through respect. And if our officers are able to engage citizens in every contact that they have and do it — begin it in a positive way and end it in a positive way. And certainly we are going to be in a better place in terms of engaging people and not judging people in ways that produce outcomes that are not so positive.
Day two — smart policing techniques. This is a new area. The work that we’re doing with this — and you’ll — introduce you to Commissioner Julian in a minute — but day two is sort of this idea of giving officers, again, more skills in ways to communicate and engage more effectively. We know that if the communication is improved and we don’t have issues around ego, we don’t have issues around not being able to control our adrenaline — all of those things are real [inaudible] for our officers when they’re out on the street doing their job that they do. But we want to help them in a way that enhances safety, produces fairness in the way in which they interact with the community, and so that we leave people with their dignity, and most importantly that we begin to build the trust that’s necessary, that we really need to have.
So that really is our goal with respect to the smart policing. Exercising discretion — as you know, officers have tremendous and broad discretion. We want them to be able to use that discretion more effectively in terms of addressing quality of life challenges, as an example, when those issues come up, so it doesn’t have to result in an arrest.
Providing quality service — customer service, we all care about that. That’s no less true when we’re talking about policing. That’s what our role is a majority of the time. So we can recognize we can do better, and we should do better and we will do better in that regard. And then finally, officers — we want to put them in a position where they’re able to do the job and deflect comments.
And then the last thing I’ll mention — I won’t dwell on it — it was mentioned by the mayor — tactical skills. If you recall, when we started the POP Program, we wanted to provide our officers with some tools and we recognized our officers coming out of recruit school get tactical training when they’re in recruit school, but when they leave, very often — unless they go to a special assignment — they ever get any more tactical training. So our increase in the in-service training is designed to, from now on each year, provide our officers with the ability to focus on their defensive tactics and honing their skills in ways in which we know will be effective.
The last two points that I’d just like to point — make — related to, at the advisory committee that we put together for our training and to get input from individuals that we’ve asked to join the committee, some of whom have been actively involved in sitting in on the training and providing important feedback. And then finally, I think, it’s important to note that this training, in every respect that we are engaged in, is based on, in many ways, some of the current research out there that’s cutting edge with respect to police training, such as procedural justice and legitimacy. Those ideas — the notion of implicit bias — and figuring out how to give our officers the benefit of what we’ve learned through the research. So we believe that all of these will help our officers build trust with the citizens and the goal of achieving positive outcomes in every single police contact.So, I’m done, but I wanted to bring up Commissioner Julian.
Deputy Commissioner of Training Michael Julian: Three people up here have been waiting over 40 years to do this, to really improve police behavior in ways that we’ve dreamed of. We’re now given the opportunity to do it. It’s here behind all these words, and we hope that you’ll see improved behavior in the months coming ahead. It’s all about safety for the community and safety for the cops. I think you said everything else there.
Mayor: Thank you so much. I’m going to pick up on that in just a moment, but first I want to give an opportunity for two of our colleagues who have been important partners in all the work we do. What we’re talking about here is going to reach every neighborhood, every block of this city over time. And the people who know their boroughs the best are our borough presidents, and they’ve been energetic and willing partners in all this work of reform. First I’d like to bring forward our host — the Borough President of Queens, Melinda Katz.
[Queens Borough President Melinda Katz speaks]
Mayor: Lastly I’d like to bring forward — I’ve said this before, I really do honor the notion that before he ran for office, Eric Adams, served us as a police officer. And one thing that I think was clear early in Eric’s time as an officer is that he worked within the ranks for positive change. And that’s something special — to serve people, but also see that reforms were needed. And to do it from inside the organization — he spent over 20 years as police officer rising through the ranks — a captain — and now we’re thrilled in Brooklyn that he’s our borough president — Borough President Eric Adams.
[Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks]
Mayor: Thank you very much, Eric. In a moment I’m going to call for your questions — and I wanted to say something before — but I’d first like to take questions related to the training efforts, and then we’ll address everything else. But, to make clear, you heard from First Deputy Commissioner Tucker and Deputy Commissioner Julian and, as Commissioner Julian said, these are two individuals who literally have spent a lifetime waiting to apply these lessons.
I’ll just do a quick historical fact-check here — first deputy commissioner, what year did you join the force originally?
First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: 1969.
Mayor: 1969 — deputy commissioner, what year?
First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: Around ’67.
Mayor: ’67 — okay. So, those were pretty charged times in our nation’s history but these two leaders joined the police force of this city in the midst of a time of crisis, learned powerful lessons, and believed the day would come when they could apply those lessons, and here they are in positions of leadership where they're going to make these changes. And we believe in these changes, and we're putting our money where our mouth is: $35 million commitment to this training effort to allow for the overtime that will facilitate it. And we'll keep investing in it, because it's so foundational to success.
Because I'm not [inaudible], I'm going to point to day one. I want to speak as a citizen about what day one means to me. Nobility of policing. I want people to understand, yeah, I'm speaking as someone who has not been a part of this profession, and I see this in a way that really moves me emotionally, reminding everyone of why this is one of the most noble professions there is, and what it means for people. And reminding them through the perspective of service, justice, and fairness. It's a powerful message for people to hear who are going to be doing this vital work.
Look at resilience. Look at the notion of pattern interruption. That speaks volumes to some of the things that we've been talking about in recent days. If something's escalating, how you stop that escalation. How you de-escalate. These are the kind of things that will change how police and community relate. Look at power of influence – influence versus control as a strategy for gaining compliance. That's such a powerful notion right there. Yes, one person has a uniform and a weapon, but there's another way to move the person you're dealing with to the right place – using the power of the words and the ideas and moving people towards compliance.
These are extraordinarily foundational concepts for change, and who has created these concepts for change? Some ivory tower professors? No, guys who started out as beat cops, lived this life of this police force for decades, and are applying the lessons that they learned to help other cops do their jobs even better, keep everyone safer. This is a transcendent moment.
With that, questions first on training, and then anything else. Training first. Sure.
Question: When you talk about changing training policy, is this something that will be different than what you were doing over the last five or ten years, or is this more a pressure or incorporating new aspects of what officers were learning? [Audible]
Commissioner Bratton: What this is intended to do is create for officers a refresher of what they learned in the Academy, or hopefully learned in the Academy, but many of our officers learned that 10, 15, 20 years ago. This department has never conducted in-service training, other than for firearms or specialized functions, so something on this scale in this department has never been attempted. And this is not a one-shot affair – this is something we will build in going forward every year. In addition to their two days of firearms training, at what we hope will be a brand new firearms range, they will also receive two to three days of in-service training going forward.
Question: Is this [inaudible] because these areas are the most important, or this is where the NYPD is [inaudible]?
Commissioner Bratton: It's a combination of both. It's an idea of the complaints that were received over the years as reflected in CCRB complaints, the understanding of many of us who have been in the business for a long time of where the profession is moving to or needs to be. So it's an amalgamation of old and new, and blended for this particular department at this particular time.
Mayor: Deputy Commissioner, First Deputy Commissioner, want to add?
First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: Just in terms of – I think "weak" is a relative term – but I would say that the other thing that makes it, in terms of your question around policy. The other thing that we've done that I think is pretty unique is we are not only training our police officers and lieutenants and sergeants I mentioned, but Commissioner Bratton is committed to, and we are training, the command staff as well as the executive staff. And the reason that's important is because historically in policing, officers at the ground level doing the work every day, boots on the ground, get – and we tried this in policing policy and practices – and we come up with the idea, we train them and we send them out there, but there's a disconnect between what they've been asked to do and how they're being evaluated with respect to what they actually do by the folks above them. So what we're trying to do is make sure that there's the same conversation that's happening when we train them down here, that everyone is part of that conversation. It makes a big difference.
Mayor: I'd just like to add to that – we train and retrain in so many fields. Think about airline pilots, think about members of the military, think about teachers. There's so many areas where it is a given that you are – think about doctors – you're getting updated all the time. You're checked all the time to make sure you have the most modern information. You go back for training. We haven't done that enough with the people we depend on to protect us, and I learned that from this commissioner, who I think is the most successful police leader anywhere in this country, and has been the greatest change agent anywhere in the country, that fact that you really only get the full picture in the Academy, and then you might go a decade or two decades without additional training, unless you're in [inaudible] a specialized area. I think his notion, that this is a profoundly important profession, and it deserves to be treated as such, and that opportunity to retrain and improve skills is part of how we elevate this profession. Yeah.
Question: Mayor, you talked about the massive changes that you're trying to make in the culture, decades worth of change, and yet it's only three days of training. How did you decide on that amount, [inaudible], enough to make this type of change that you're trying to accomplish?
Mayor: I'll let my colleagues come up, and I have to tell you, three days. And I just got a glimpse before we came in here, but I could see immediately what it meant to the officers being trained. They were thinking through the work they do every day with seasoned professionals showing them – deconstructing their work, showing them how to do it better, showing them how to think about teamwork they needed, how to prepare for things in advance. It was very powerful, because you could see how that would change a lot of the day-to-day interactions between police and community.
I think three days is going to make a huge difference, and as the Commissioner said, that's not the ending, that's the beginning.
Commissioner Bratton: The concept of the three days is a combination of capacity of the department to train, the economic reality, the money we have to work with, the $35 million the mayor gave us, but it's also needs of the moment. As we looked at all of the issues that have been complained about, our officers themselves expressed to us that they felt they needed. This is a combination of exterior as well as interior interest and need. I'd also point out, again, that this is not a one-shot affair, that as we go forward each year, the needs of the evolution of policing will be met with that.
Additionally, we also do roll call training, which is nowhere near as intense as this, certainly, refresher-type training. We also, this year, the mayor just announced earlier this week an initiative to deal with the issue of the mostly disturbed individuals in this city – the huge population that have mental issues. And we're going to also try, over the next year or so, train an additional 5,500 officers initially on a 36-hour course on dealing with the emotionally disturbed. So this is really the foundation upon which we're going to build out. We now have a facility that, as big as this place is, we have already outgrown it with all the training we want to do. So we're going to have to keep the old Academy, because we need the capacity of the old Academy. This is a foundation, and it will be built upon as we go forward.
Question: Do you feel that if the officers involved in the Eric Garner case, if they had gone for these three days, it would not have happened?
Mayor: I think we all know that those hypotheticals only get us so far. I think you're going to see a very different reality after this training has been achieved. I think this will protect our officers. I think it'll protect the lives of our citizens. I have no doubt that some tragedies will be averted because of this training. That's how I'd answer your question.
Question: [inaudible] using this model of retraining, is it possible to give an example of how [inaudible] resisting arrest, how that might resolve itself differently based on more smart policing techniques and so forth?
First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: So I think that the whole idea is when we talk about changing the culture and changing attitudes and giving these officers tools is to have them really think about – this is not just skills-based training, but it's cognitive training as well. So we want them to be able to make decisions about whether or not – think about the full picture, the landscape of – each and every incident is different, and so you have to evaluate that in that context. So you make those decisions, and you decide whether you need to make the arrest, even at that moment, or whether you are going to issue a summons. But what we're trying to do is get the officers to really think about, before you even think about any, the enforcement action escalating, is to think about how to talk to the person. What we want them to do is talk people down as opposed to having to take people down. When I was a cop, I'd much rather make an arrest in a way where I didn't have to roll around on the ground with a suspect. It's no fun, and so no one does it just because you think it's going to be fun. It's never fun. So I think that's what we're trying to do.
The other think I would add about training, and the other thing that's unique, is what we're trying to do is take these – I mentioned procedural justice and legitimacy, and implicit bias. We want to take those concepts – just the research in both of those areas is quite powerful – and so we want to train our recruits, we want to weave those philosophies, for lack of a better description, into every aspect of how we train our officers. We train our officers academically, social science, police science and law. We also do tactical training that was referenced earlier. But in every way that we train our officers, we want to make sure that the messaging, the powerful messaging around legitimacy and building trust, in some way, shape, or form makes its way into every lesson plan that we teach.
Mayor: Just one sec, I'm sorry. I just want to add – I think there’s something powerful about the First Deputy Commissioner said. And I've heard it from Commissioner Bratton, I've learned so much working with him. One of the things you said, Commissioner, that struck me at one point, is arrest is not always the goal. The goal is to create order, preserve order, avoid violence, keep the law. There's a lot of ways to approach that, and sometimes, this is one of the things I think we all appreciate about a cop on the beat who knows the community, we all appreciate about community policing. You can solve a problem a lot of different ways. Sometimes it's a warning, sometimes it's a summons, sometimes arrest is the only option.
I think part of empowering our officers with all those tools – you see that here clearly in the curriculum, giving officers a sense of all of the ways that they can handle a conflict, and helping them to think about the best way to communicate given the situation they're in. Dean?
Question: Commissioner, and you repeated this, Mayor, a couple of weeks ago, you said that some officers are racist. Will this training stop officers, or teach officers not to be racist?
Commissioner Bratton: The issue of racism is, as you can fully appreciate, a complicated one. We do our best to try to ensure that people coming into the department are not bringing in with them attitudes. We do our best to try, during the course of their career, that they don't adopt attitudes that are not appropriate to being an effective police officer. So the scope of this is intended to address a lot of issues, but is in intended to really remind officers of the importance, the nobility, of policing, of what they do, and the importance of treating all people fairly, no matter what their background, their ethnicity, their sex. It's a whole series of building blocks, from when we first screen them to come into the department, when we train them initially as recruits, and as we'll attempt to do for the first time, continue to keep them informed, educated, and trained, and evaluated appropriately also.
Mayor: Hold on, hold on. I just want to say, I think the Commissioner, to his great credit, and I referenced yesterday the comments he made to his leadership, he has set a standard, again as the most successful police leader in the country, he's set a standard that racism won't be tolerated in the NYPD. So I would separate – I think your question's a fair one – but I would say the notion is this leadership has made clear there is no place for racism in this police force. That is a point that will pervade everything. The way our officers are recruited, trained, etc., and obviously, as the Commissioner indicated, if someone shows indications of treating their fellow New Yorkers inappropriately, there are consequences.
But I think this training is much more about the vast majority of our officers, who chose this profession because they wanted to help people, who learn to risk their lives because they wanted to help people, and want to do it right, and deserve more training for the complexity of what they're facing. They deserve an opportunity to get the best possible preparation for what they face every day. Yes?
Question: Mayor, I think [inaudible] can see perhaps the emotion behind some of this. We've heard a lot in the last couple of days about fear of police. You, Mayor, talked about the issue [inaudible] talk about how to [inaudible]?
Mayor: Through this type of program, this type of initiative. The idea of, one, refining the existing training program for recruit officers, significantly enhancing their experience during the first six months in the street in a way that has not been done for many years in this organization, and then beyond that, through initiatives like this. The idea of committing more resources, more time, to trying to do the best we can to keep them educated, keep them focused, keep them involved in a way that they feel they're of value, because we're committing so much time to what is essentially their well-being.
Because if we police this way, it's going to result in fewer injuries to citizens, it's going to result in fewer injuries to officers, it's going to result in fewer complaints about officer behavior. All of this, if you think of all the different streams that we're following, the body cameras, the training of recruit officers, the training of existing officers in the field, these are not all being done in isolation. These are all part of a comprehensive effort to police this city in a better way, and I'm very, very comfortable, much the same as in '94, when we really believed we could do something about crime, that we can do something about this issue of the 21st century that's been bubbling for several centuries. This is nothing new. It's been bubbling, and right now it's kind of bubbling over, if you will.
I really believe, as I did in 1994, that this city could be made safe against crime. Well, this city could be made safe against attitudes in which the public doesn't feel the police care about them, and the police feel that the public doesn't care about them, when the reality is they do, but it gets lost sometimes in controversy and conflict. And this way here, we could try to reduce the controversy, try to reduce to conflict. Go ahead –
Question: Will this three-day training include psychological factors, like perhaps [inaudible] counseling for [inaudible], or might open up the doors for officers to get help [inaudible]?
Deputy Commissioner Julian: Let me just talk about something. The Internal Affairs did an analysis of all the forces that we see, that we have an opportunity to see on camera, and as you know, a lot of these incidents are of course being caught on camera. And there's one element in all of them – and it's emotion. And there's either anger and adrenaline in all of them. An officer chases somebody – and his adrenaline is rushing. Somebody spits in his eye or punches him in the face, and of course he naturally has anger. So what we're teaching them is how to control that anger, and how to channel that anger so that they don't act out.
In fact, Internal Affairs has asked that we create a training around officers helping each other, because the officer who's angry sometimes can't even see it themselves, but those other officers on the scene have to step in. We're lucky in this police department – we don't have that kind of brutal force where you see a bunch of officers just slamming somebody. You know there's videos you see, there's one officer hits out because he's angry. We can stop that officer, and it depends upon other officers coming and helping. You have to help each other. Today, that don't see it that way, but we're telling them it's their responsibility, and we're giving them techniques to do that. So, you're so right, it has to do with emotion, and we think we can control that emotion, and we think you'll see behavioral changes very soon.
Question: This might seem unrelated, but it is related. The body camera trials, I'm not sure how many times they're going out, but I understand [inaudible]. I noted that there will only [inaudible] nine-hour [inaudible]. Before we –
Mayor: I want to just interrupt on purpose, I want to make sure we've done training, and you'll be first when we go to after training, so let me just get the training questions per se out, and then we'll come to you.
Question: The Commissioner had mentioned $35 million that you had allocated for this, is that this fiscal year and then every year [inaudible] –
Mayor: Well, this fiscal year for sure, and then we're going to assess, as with everything, we're going to assess the cost going forward. It's certainly something we intend to do on an ongoing basis, but we're going to use this experience to help us figure out the best way to go at it, and how much it will cost going forward. But one thing, the Commissioner had me at “hello”, on the question of training, this is one of our quickest conversations when he said, look, this is going to make the biggest different of anything, and it will be a cost because of overtime. I said, "I can't think of a better investment we could make," and so we're always going to prioritize training.
Question: Just as a general follow-up, I think someone else mentioned up there that they're hoping to start doing this training in June, is that correct?
Mayor: It's happening as we speak.
First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: No, no, we will finish it. The 20,000 will be completed in June. Let me make one more point about the training as related to the question that was asked over here, and that is the other ingredient to the success of all of these three-day trainings, and all the training that we do at the Academy, are the instructors, the staff, and the leadership of the Academy. And so it really is important, and I think I'd be remiss if I didn't, we have Chief Terry Shortell, Borough President Adams mentioned it. She is the Commanding Officer of the Police Academy. She works, she's got a staff – she's got Richie Dee as her Exec Officer. You got Mike and Greg, you've got an extraordinarily – and instructors, if you speak to any one of the instructors, these folks are dedicated to what they do, they believe in what they do. And I think, what I noticed when I came back in March, was how committed they were, and in some ways, how starved they were to really say, hey, you get the juices flowing, we can make a difference. And this is the result of that. So, it all comes together, in working with these officers, and you have people who are respected in the field because of their experience and backgrounds. These officers know that. There's one thing extraordinary about NYPD – everyone knows what's going on. I think it's important to make that point as well.
Mayor: And I want to emphasize, the training we saw, just an – less than an hour ago – is actual training. It's happening as we speak. The retraining process has begun. Okay, last call on training, a few more, yes?
Question: [inaudible] resisting arrest? Or will it?
Deputy Commissioner Julian: If they were actually resisting arrest, they would be restrained in ways that would cause less injury to them and to police officers. I think the other side of it is, people who are not resisting, but they're not cooperating, and they're non-threatening, and I just want to say – I hate to say this – but we never taught the police how to deal with that, so a police officer's only weapon was restraint. And now we're teaching them the tricks of how to break that line in the sand when somebody doesn't want to cooperate. And we're teaching those techniques, and they understand them. I think you know what it is, yourselves, when you deal with somebody who just stands there and won't change. You know, you change it up, you bring an intermediary in. I hate to say this, I don't want to be a sexist, but when a man's going against a man, bring a female officer in, and have them talk to that man, and oftentimes, it changes. And same – the opposite is true as well. So we bring other people – and we also bring intermediaries in for the third party. So, mom says, can I talk to my son, you know, before you go out and wrestle him – and this is not a jumper situation or a hostage situation – yeah, let mom talk to him, because he's not violent. Let her come in. Because right now, police officers believe, well I can't let mom talk to him – of course you can. We have to be more human, and understand it's not a threat. So, we're teaching them all these techniques.
Mayor: That – that, again, I'm a layman, but it is so much an epitome of what I respect about the content of community policing, because it actually thinks about people from the community perspective, the human perspective, the family perspective. That's a great example. If a teenager is having a conflict with a police officer, and their mother, their aunt, their sister can convince them to cooperate – it's a very human solution, and that may very well be the best solution.
Question: What do you say to – there are certain [inaudible] community relations are fine, and [inaudible]?
Mayor: Well, I think a couple things, and maybe the commissioner wants to add – first of all, I don't know anybody who is a professional who doesn't appreciate their profession being respected. This is a sign of respect for the profession of policing. Again, we put so many other professions on a pedestal, and we put a huge amount of money into training. This is a place that deserves – a profession that deserves more support, and where people can get even better at what they do because of more training. It just stands to reason. On the question of how people feel – look, by definition, if some people in the city think things are fine, and others don't, we don't just say well, let's go home and call it a day. If some people are rich, and the vast majority are poor, we don't say things are okay because some people are rich. We have to address the whole city. And a lot of people are hurting, and a lot of people have had a series of unfortunate encounters with the police, and we need to change that – and we can, and this is one of the ways we change it. So, I think this is about respecting everyone. I think this is about changing the dynamic in favor of cooperation and unity. And I can't think of a better investment we could make.
Okay, just one or two more on training and then we'll go to other questions.
Question: [inaudible] Officer Pantaleo [inaudible] PBA [inaudible]
Commissioner Bratton: [inaudible] speak at all to anything involving the Garner matter. It's under investigation by the department, so we will not speak to any of that.
Mayor: Just to state the obvious, I think the point that both the first deputy commissioner and the deputy commissioner made is, you know, part of this training is to improve upon the approach overall, to how to handle the situation where someone has to be physically restrained.
Last call on training, and then we go to others. Go ahead.
Mayor: Okay, no, I said last call on training. You jumped. [Laughter] You just – you're going to the back of line. He’s got the first question, if there's no more on training. Last call on training, going once. Where? Henry?
Question: [inaudible] psychologically fit [inaudible]
Deputy Commissioner Julian: [inaudible] we do that, right. Every police officer, when you're recruited, you have to pass a psychological test, and it's pretty thorough. There's actually three exams you have to take. We've mentioned before about racism, and the studies show that police officers who use force – often it's not the racists, it's the guy who has a lot of machismo. And so what we're trying to control – I know we'd like to control the racists – in fact, we don't want to control racists, we want them off the police department, we don't want them, if we can identify them. But the guy with the higher machismo – we have to control that attitude that he has, and that's been – that's the person who's going to come out and hurt somebody. We have to control it. So we're identifying them with the sergeants and other people, and we have to remove them as well if they can't change.
Deputy Commissioner Julian: The psychological testing does identify some. We keep them out, but as you know, some slip in. It's a paper and pencil exam. You can figure out where the answers come. So some people get by, but if we have good systems, we can identify them. You know, we have a personnel inventory where we manage everything about those officers, and we track them through their career, and we – they give us a red signal, and we take them off patrol, if we see that they're not operating properly.
Mayor: Thank you. Okay. You've got the first one on other questions.
Question: [inaudible] when appropriate [inaudible]
Mayor: No, there's – there are standards. I think the commissioner spoke to this yesterday. There are standards that – everyone using a camera, every officer using a camera, will be trained in when it's appropriate and necessary to put on that camera. Deputy Commissioner Tisch laid out the seven categories of areas where that was necessary. Like any other element in your training, if you don't follow those departmental rules, there are consequences. So I don't want anyone to have the misunderstanding that a cop can just decide, oh I don't feel like putting on my camera right now. There's going to be a set of clear rules governing when the camera has to go on – has to be on – and consequences.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor, yesterday when you were speaking, a lot of people understood your comments were somewhat emotional, because you were speaking with two different heads — as a leader of the city, and also as a parent. But there are people today who are criticizing – including Pat Lynch – saying that your comments, saying that young black men should be afraid, and are afraid, and need to be afraid of some police officers – that were basically throwing the NYPD under the bus. So, I'd like you to respond to that, and then the second part of it.
Mayor: Let me answer that first. That's not what I said, first of all. I mean, I will always, with all of you, if you characterize my comments inaccurately, respectfully, I'm going to say that's not what I said. I said there is a history, and there is a reality – a lot of people feel fear. It's not that they should, it's that they do, and we have to address it, and we have to be honest about it. And I don't think denying that reality is going to move us forward. What we're trying to create is a dynamic where every young person of color understands that a police officer is there to protect them, and they feel respected, and they feel – in fact – they can work with the police, they should want to provide information to the police, etc. – that's what we're trying to get to. But we're not there yet.
Question: The other thing that Pat Lynch said today as well was that part of your message yesterday should have been that, when you're talking with young black men, including your son, that you should be saying, look, don't resist arrest. Don't antagonize police officers. Don't talk back to them. If you are confronted for some reason or another, work with them. That should have been part of –
Mayor: I think that is the message. I've spoken to this many times before. I think the message is to be respectful, to follow instructions by the police, to be careful and cautious and not to make a sudden move, etc. That is absolutely what Chirlane and I have told Dante from the moment he started to look like a teenager. What I think, literally, hundreds of thousands of parents in this city have told their children now for generations.
But I do want to emphasize, there's a difference between saying we should respect our officers; which, of course, we should. We should follow their instructions, every citizen should. We should respect people who are there to serve us, by definition that's true. Versus the reality that so many parents have felt that, unfortunately, their child might confront an unfair treatment, an unequal treatment. That's a very different point. Those instructions are given both out of the hope that things would be fair in our society, and a hope that we could all be treated the way we're supposed to, but the fear that it might not happen for their child and that the consequences could be deadly.
And this is a, you know we’re at a moment where we look at what happened in Cleveland – a twelve-year-old boy lost, and think of what that means for parents all over this city and all over this country. The fear that that gives them. A child out playing with a toy. This horrible tragedy. Think of what fear that instills in parents that that might be their child.
Question: Also, [inaudible] last night, how you talked about your son. Can you tell us whether it was last night or this morning, your conversations with you son about the grand jury's decision? What was that like, was he emotional, was he upset? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Mayor: I referred to this earlier today. My son is 17 years old, he's a very intelligent young man, he's a very knowledgeable young man. I don't think anything that's happened here was particularly a surprise to him. I think the conversations when he was younger, trying to help him understand this reality, those were more difficult. Again, every child looks up to police officers, as they should. Then, as they get to a certain age, if they happen to be a child of color, these challenging dynamics have to be discussed out loud. And it creates a lot of confusion for our young people. So, those conversations were difficult. But I think, at this point, where he's on the verge of adulthood, it's a situation he's grown more accustomed to.
Mayor: By definition. The whole topic creates a sorrow for all of us who believe in a better society for everyone. But that doesn't mean we're going to stop doing our work. I think parents will continue to have that exact same conversation with their children. They will hope and pray every night that their children come home safely, and will look forward to the day where they don't have to have that conversation with their children.
Question: Mr. Mayor, as we speak, people are amassing to demonstrate at various places in the city – Foley Square, Union Square. I'm wondering what the plan will be for tonight in terms of policing it? Will they be allowed block highways and bridges? [inaudible] But your message to them is –
Mayor: I've said this many times, I'll say it again, and turn to the Commissioner and the Chief of Department. Respectfully, I have said this many times, and I'll say it again. We respect the right of protest, but we will keep order. It's a very straightforward formula. This department has an extraordinary tradition of respecting the right of people to speak, but also drawing a line when that might create disorder or violence, or obviously, as we talked the other, any trouble in terms of emergency vehicles. You saw it with your own eyes last night. Another example of, I think, the brilliant work of the NYPD. Commissioner?
NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill: Good afternoon, everyone. Jim O’Neill – Chief of Department. To your question, we're going to police tonight's events in a similar fashion as we did last night. Last night was a busy, yet peaceful, time in midtown Manhattan. Ended up with 83 arrests. If you want, I can just do a little chronology of where the arrests were.
Around 7:00 o’clock, 7:15, we had around about 18 arrests at 47th and 6th – 47th Street, West 47th Street and 6th Avenue. That was not too far away from the lighting of the Christmas Tree.
I'm just going to go to the areas where we had multiple arrests.
Around 9:30 we had 11 arrests on the West Side Highway, at 5-7 and 12th.
Sure, sure – it was disorderly conduct, obstructing vehicles. 80 out of the 83 arrests were for that. The other three – 83, yes – three resisting arrest out of 83.
In addition to, excuse me? [Inaudible]. Yes, three out of the 83 were resisting arrest. Then we had 11 arrests at West 113th and Amsterdam. Again, disorderly conduct, obstructing vehicles. There's a hospital just right in the vicinity there.
And at the end of the night, actually, early this morning, at 00:50 hours, we had 14 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge. We had a large group that traveled over the bridge and sat down in the middle of the bridge. We gave some warnings. Most of the chose to get up and proceed into Brooklyn and they did. Then 14 did not want to continue, and we ended up arresting them for disorderly conduct and obstructing vehicles.
Question: Could you, for the sake of clarity, tell us what the policy tonight will be [inaudible]
Chief O’Neill: As the Mayor and the Commissioner said, people have a right and a need to have their voices heard. The NYPD truly understands that and we are there to make sure that gets done in a safe manner. And we're going to do the same thing tonight.
I do have commanders on the ground that will be making decisions as we go through the night. If there are large intersections or major arteries, we're going to have to take some steps here. Because there is a level of frustration for the people outside the people demonstrating, trying to get home, trying to get to work. So we need to take some positive steps sometimes.
Question: [inaudible] what kind of orders are there?
Chief O’Neill: Anytime there’s a protest – that's a conversation that we have before we turn people out. Not only to the commanders, we do it to lieutenants, to sergeants, and to the police officers what our expectations are.
Question: Do you tell them anything about [inaudible] what sort of things interaction is?
First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: Pretty much what I just discussed over the last couple of seconds.
Mayor: And we've seen this for years. This has been the pride of the NYPD and the approach they’ve taken.
Question: Commissioner Bratton, I know you can't talk about actual situations [inaudible], but what is next? The grand jury did not indict, a lot of people are wondering what's next? What's next [inaudible] and the other officers who were on that tape?
Commissioner Bratton: Because of the criminal investigation by the Staten Island District Attorney, our administrative investigation. He looks for violations of law – I look for violation of Department policies and procedures, or compliance with Department policies and procedures. Now that the criminal investigation has concluded, we are now free to move forward with our investigation. Our investigation was held in abeyance at his request. A number of the officers involved we could not talk to that he wanted to question as part of his criminal investigation.
So, we are now moving forward with our investigation. Starting tomorrow, a number of the officers that we had not had access to, we will be bringing in to go through our questioning.
I have with me the team that will be involved in the process going forward. I will let them speak to that process. I have the Department's Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters, Larry Byrne; the Department’s Advocate, Deputy Commissioner of the Advocate, who respectively is our District Attorney, Kevin Richardson. We have also the Deputy Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Joe Resnick. This is the group, particularly, the Deputy Commissioner of the Department Advocate, our prosecutor working with Internal Affairs, that will carry the investigation forward from this point in time.
I would also reference that the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, Loretta Lynch, her and I had a conversation this morning, to be sure that we are clear in the respective paths of our investigation. She will be conducting hers, we will be conducting ours, and they are independent investigations. And she is looking at totally separate matters from what we are looking at.
Mayor: Let's just hold on a sec. Let's have [inaudible].
Kevin Richardson, Deputy Commissioner, Department Advocate’s Office: Good afternoon. The investigation into this incident will be treated just like the investigation into every other allegation of police misconduct or wrongdoing. The Internal Affairs Bureau headed by Commissioner Resnick conducts a complete, thorough investigation. They work with attorneys in my unit to make sure that they're asking all of the questions that need to be asked. They're collecting additional evidence where additional evidence is needed. That evidence will then be compiled and analyzed.
And if we find that that evidence indicates there was some breach of police duty or police misconduct, we will file Departmental charges against an officer or officers who we identify as having broken rules.
After that, those officers have a right to a Departmental trial in front of a judge. And if that judge, after hearing all of the evidence that's presented, determines that there's substantial evidence to make a guilty finding, the judge will render a verdict.
The case is then transferred to the Police Commissioner with all of the evidence, all of the information, and the judge's determination, for the Police Commissioner to make a determination of what the future of any officer who commits wrongdoing or misconduct is within the Police Department.
Deputy Commissioner Richardson: Now that the grand jury has reached a decision and not indicted, an officer in any case – this case and other cases – yes, the Department is free to conduct and interview that officer.
Deputy Commissioner Richardson: The officers are generally interviewed with a lawyer present.
Question: Mr. Mayor, [inaudible] how the police handled the protesters last night. I wonder, [inaudible] unions [inaudible].
Mayor: First of all, there's always a difference between the people who do the work and the unions that represent them and the union leaders that represent them. We see this in every area of endeavor. I think the rank-and-file, hardworking members of this department understand this strategy because they have been implementing it day in and day out with extraordinary effect. We've all seen what it looks like when there's the wrong approach to protests. We've seen it very vividly in other parts of the country in the last few weeks. Here, there has been extraordinary agility and strategic sensibility that has allowed for so many very large, ever-moving protests to come off with no injuries, no major violence. Extraordinary success.
So, that is a tribute to the leadership of this Department, but again, I just ask people with eyes to see, look over and over again at what you've seen these last days. How extraordinarily well this department has handled this situation.
I go back a few years, even. This is again to Dean's point. This is something that this current leadership has done, I think, particularly well. I also think there's a tradition here to look at. During Occupy Wall Street in its heyday, I said at the time, many times I had immense respect for the restraint shown by the police. You remember there were protests like we had never seen before, in ways we had never seen them. Yet, there were very few instances of violence and the police found a smart way to work with the protesters.
I think that's a big and important story here. And it wouldn't be working, if that strategy wasn't coming from the top all the way down to the rank-and-file, and being implemented by the rank-and-file officers. They're the folks doing this work and doing it well. Jillian –
Question: Mr. Mayor, today the state judge ruled [inaudible] information from the grand jury [inaudible] the District Attorney did not request to review the transcript. [inaudible] People may be familiar with that process from the [inaudible]. Wondering whether you believe that more information from the grand jury should be released at the District Attorney's request. That information be released [inaudible] help quell some of the discomfort with the grand jury's ruling. [inaudible]
Mayor: There's a lot of lawyers here. I'm not one of them. I would simply say, on a common sense level, I think more information would be helpful. People have a lot of questions and would like to understand more of what was presented to the grand jury and how deliberations would be done. So I think that would be helpful. Melissa –
Question: Okay, one of the things that the PBA President is discussing, that he's planning [inaudible] grand jury decision. Was that [inaudible] I understand you may have [inaudible] but, as a question of fact, [inaudible] keep calling textbook takedown taught at the Police Academy. I think a lot of New Yorkers are wondering if that is actually true. If that's a way that people are taught to bring somebody down.
Mayor: I strongly suspect that no one wants to discuss the particulars of the case, but I –
Commissioner Bratton: That's correct.
Mayor: You're still on. But that was – by definition – I hope everyone's receiving this message loud and clear. The ball is now in the Police Department's court. That is a different reality. And this Commissioner and his team have to respect the fact that they're not going to speak publicly about a case they're passing judgment on.
Question: [inaudible] question about sentiment among some police and union leaders that [inaudible] throwing their members under the bus. Some people perceived that last night was planned as a way to get a little . . . detain that many people [inaudible]. That there was not the other side expressed this much by you that [inaudible] difficulty of [inaudible] or the decisions or snap judgments that officers have to make in the field. That sometimes a good officer can make a decision that goes tragically wrong. Wondering if you could sort of address that [inaudible]
Mayor: I don't know about the march on December 13th, so I can't answer that question. But I can say I've now, for this whole year, talked about my immense respect for this Police Department. For its leadership, for the men and women who do the work on veritably a daily basis. So I never get caught up in what critics say, particularly if they're doing it for their own agenda.
I think people of this city saw a man die, who shouldn't have died. It's as simple as that. I think it's important to speak to that reality, particularly when it's not an isolated reality. I think that's part of how we move forward. If there are critics who don't like that, I would suggest to them that they look more honestly at the reality we're facing and think about the changes we need to make so we can actually have the right kind of relationship between police and community. One or two more –
Question: [inaudible] right message. How much of an impact [inaudible]?
Commissioner Bratton: I think that message was of great value to many. I wish the message was heard by many more – including a number of those that were engaged in protest last night that put their lives and the lives of others at risk. In terms of some of those demonstrators last evening, their behavior was very inappropriate and did nothing to memorialize in an appropriate way the death of Mr. Garner.
So the family, I think, has been extraordinarily generous in their grief, reaching out and asking others to do as they do. To grieve, but not to engage in actions that would discredit the memory of their loved one. [inaudible] I'm sorry? [inaudible] I think I just expressed appreciation for that, certainly.
Mayor: Thanks very much, everyone.