According to witnesses, on September 22, NYPD officers turned on their lights and via the police car’s loud speaker told a group of black teenagers walking down the street to leave the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn. The issue was brought up during a Community Council meeting by Sara Bennett, who saw the event.
Commanding Officer Capt. Frank DiGiacomo told those present at the meeting that he wasn’t aware of the specific incident. However, he confirmed that his officers routinely try to move large groups of young people out of the neighborhood because clusters of teens have created problems recently at the Atlantic Center Mall.
He added that two of his officers were kicked in the face while breaking up fights at the mall.
“We’ve had have large fights…and things stemming over to Barclays Center and things stemming over to robberies and assaults,” DiGiacomo said. “When one or two are hanging out, it’s never a problem, but when we have large groups of kids together and we don’t ask them to move or go somewhere else, they become a larger group, and that’s when we get assaults.”
DiGiacomo said he is working with the Barclays Center and school safety officers to create after-school programs that will keep kids safe and off the streets.
Why are black teens continually criminalized for doing things like walking?
What can be done in Park Slope and other neighborhoods to change these policing tactics?
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