NYPD Union Responds To Calls For Reform By Shaming The Homeless

Memo calls officials fighting for police accountability "inept and spineless."

Fed up with calls for more oversight of police, one of the New York City Police Department's biggest unions offered a response: Take pictures of homeless New Yorkers and post them on the Internet.

Sgt. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, outlined the new campaign -- called "Peek-A-Boo, We See You Too!" -- in a memo to members this week.

Mullins first decries efforts by the City Council to pass various pieces of NYPD reform legislation.

One such bill would make it illegal for members of the NYPD to put a suspect in a chokehold. The legislation was inspired by the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold and died after police questioned him about selling untaxed cigarettes.

<p>New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to veto legislation that would make it illegal for police officers to put suspects in a chokehold.</p>

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to veto legislation that would make it illegal for police officers to put suspects in a chokehold.

Credit: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Another bill would require the NYPD to report how often officers use force.

"The naysayers are our inept and spineless public officials who sit amongst the City Council and propose legislation that can only be described as preposterously disingenuous," Mullins says in the memo. "We, the 'Good Guys,' are sworn to protect our citizens. Shouldn’t our public officials be held to the same standard?"

After mocking the legislative proposals, Mullins describes the new campaign.

"Today, I am asking each of you, along with your friends, family members and the silent majority of New Yorkers, to get more involved," Mullins says. "As you travel about the City of New York, please utilize your smart phones to photograph the homeless lying in our streets, aggressive panhandlers, people urinating in public or engaging in open-air drug activity, and quality of life offenses of every type."


The results of this call to action can be seen on the campaign's Flickr page. Dozens of photos of the city's homeless cover the home page.

SBA spokesman Jordan Bieber told The Huffington Post the campaign is designed to "generate awareness that the number of homeless people around the city is growing."

Bieber referred all further questions to Mullins, who did not immediately respond.

Public officials are well aware of the city's growing homeless population and are looking at different ways to address it.

Research has shown that one of the best and most cost-effective ways to alleviate homelessness is not to take pictures of homeless people or arrest them, but to give them homes.

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