by Derek Scarlino/Love and Rage
NEW YORK, N.Y.– An occupation of City Hall Park in New York, which began Monday as part of a strategy to urge several changes in the structure of the New York Police Department, resulted in an early victory as Commissioner Bill Bratton resigned abruptly on Tuesday.
Bratton’s resignation was one of the main demands of Millions March NYC, which is also calling for reparations to be made to all surviving victims, and their families, of police brutality from the NYPD budget as well as defunding the NYPD up to $5.5 million to be allocated to communities of Black and Brown communities.
According to Think Progress, Bratton intended to resign later this year and will stay in the position until September to aid the department’s transition.
Commissioner Bratton’s profile increased dramatically during the tenure of former mayor Rudy Giuliani as Bratton oversaw the introduction and execution of the controversial “broken windows” policy of policing during the early 1990s.
While broken windows and Giuliani were widely credited with a historic drop in New York City’s crime rate, the claim has suffered in recent years as data from major cities across the United States show marked declines, at almost the same rate during the same amount of time during a sustained fall in the total US crime rate.
Bratton also spoke candidly about the racist policing procedures of the NYPD, remarking in 2015:
“Slavery, our country’s original sin, sat on a foundation codified by laws enforced by police, by slave-catchers,” Bratton said, noting that the Dutch explorer who established New York made slave-catching cops his first priority. “Since then, the stories of police and black citizens have intertwined again and again. … The unequal nature of that relationship cannot and must not be denied.”
In a submission to It’s Going Down, Anarchist Action NYC, which helped partake in the occupation, noted several methods used by organizers to beat eviction attempts by the NYPD:
On the first day of the occupation we ejected a racist, Donald Trump supporter from the park, ensuring that people know the far-Right will not be tolerated. And with a clever bait and switch tactic we confounded the police, marching to a nearby park with 24 hour access. As we celebrated, police studied the park rules meticulously trying to find a way to evict occupants. A rental truck arrived right on time and people gathered to unload sleeping bags and pads. As we wake up this morning the occupation stands. The police were outmaneuvered tactically and outpaced politically.
Millions March NYC, which initiated the occupation, is a multiracial grassroots collective which directs its actions toward the strengthening of the movement for Black lives.
The occupation of City Hall Park, renamed Abolition Square by those involved, is expected to continue, as individuals from several groups focusing on policy brutality, among other abuses of the state, head into just their third day of the action.