"That’s when the narcotics officers kicked in the door."
February 5, 2016 7:47 AM   Subscribe

 
ACAB.
posted by SansPoint at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Assistant Commissioner Robert Messner, who heads the NYPD’s Civil Enforcement Unit, concurred, saying, “You have to remember, it’s an action about a place. It’s not about people.”

yes, it's so obvious that it's not about people - it's about a system that just regards people as some kind of collateral damage on the way to "justice"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:05 AM on February 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


The War on Drugs: making a bad situation worse since 1971.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:05 AM on February 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


“They was like, ‘We’re not going to let you in for the cat. We’re not going to let you in for clothes. We’re going to let you in when you sign this agreement.” So she signed.

The criminal charges against Short were ultimately dismissed. A friend who was arrested at the house with her, Jonathan Donaldson, took responsibility for the drugs and was sentenced to a year and a half in prison. Meanwhile, during the four months between when the nuisance abatement case was filed and when it was settled, Short said her cat died of starvation.

Today, she never seems to stay at any one place for too long. Sometimes she sleeps on a relative’s couch, sometimes on the subway or at a homeless shelter. The chaos of her life makes it difficult to hold down a job. “Right now, I still have nowhere to stay,” Short said, sitting on the stoop of a tattered brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant last August. At her feet sat a crinkled black plastic bag she was using as a purse.

“You hang out until 4 a.m., ride the train until noon, find a house to shower at, and then on to the next place,” she said wearily.

For her, the apartment provided a better life she just couldn’t hang onto. “I was in the shelter for four and a half years, then I get that apartment,” she said. Her time on the streets made her generous with friends who needed a place to sleep or shower. “Jonathan didn’t even live with me,” she added before trailing off.

Short said her three kids are living at a homeless shelter in the Bronx with their father.


The whole story is basically about people who are so screwed over by the system that they are sick, insecurely housed, dying young - the primary problem in these situations isn't ever drugs, drugs are a symptom of people who are being crushed by poverty and social violence. House those people securely, treat their illnesses, feed them decently, let them live in an ordinary way for a few years so they can recover from their suffering, and you'd see these "nuisance" problems just dry up and disappear, even in those cases where it's, like, actual drugs and not eggshell.
posted by Frowner at 8:09 AM on February 5, 2016 [51 favorites]


I'm about ready to write this country off and move somewhere "uncivilized" that's more civilized. Sticking my head in the sand? Sure.

For someone with an aversion to tropical/sunny locales, what's the expat destination of choice these days?
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 8:11 AM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Landlords mad and getting madder
Ain't we got fun?
Times are so bad and getting badder
Still we have fun
There's nothing surer
The rich get rich and the poor get laid off
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun?

♫♬♩♫♩
posted by Wretch729 at 8:14 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Assistant Commissioner Robert Messner, who heads the NYPD’s Civil Enforcement Unit, concurred, saying, “You have to remember, it’s an action about a place. It’s not about people.”

This is just so infuriating. How can he even believe what he is saying? "Places" are inherently all about the people who live there.
posted by yesster at 8:16 AM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Now these are some "New York values" Ted Cruz can get behind.


(by which I mean that it's fucking despicable)
posted by dersins at 8:30 AM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


NYPD’s Messner said his lawyers “talk to” the precinct officers to confirm the location still poses a problem, but don’t include this information in court filings for the sake of efficiency.

“The judges don’t want to read tomes,” he said. “We could do 100 cases a year instead of 800 cases a year, with, you know, tremendous levels of detail. But we wouldn’t end up with a better product. We’d just end up helping a lot less people.”


and

Messner said he was pleased that his staff’s caseload increased even as the department was cut from 65 to 55 people. “I’m an astronomically good manager,” he said. “This is an efficient way to address crime and provide police services.”


This guy is a complete asshole.
posted by Mavri at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


There are certainly terrible tenants who cause grief for their neighbors. But when you kick them out they don't just disappear. They go somewhere. And whatever is causing them to be such problematical neighbors, will make them problematical in the next place, too.

There has to be a better way to deal with this, something more humane.
posted by elizilla at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


And then, of course, these people become stigmatized for being homeless because it's assumed that they're lazy and don't want to work or what have you. Nope, actually, they were kicked out of their homes for no reason, basically on the whim of some administrator.

ElDiabloConQueso, will you take me with you? I can cook and hang pictures.
posted by holborne at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2016


The War on Drugs: making a bad situation worse since 1971. Working as Designed.
posted by Cosine at 9:13 AM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Psychopathic vermin.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:23 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


In trying to figure out if this is what happened to my upstairs neighbors, I ran across this 1991 NYT article praising the laws.

And I'm pretty sure it is what happened. It was a family of 5 or 6 people. One or two of them were dealers, but I'm certain it wasn't the entire family. After the second SWAT raid, they were gone and my landlady couldn't rent out the apartment for a year.

I detest how the law is being used against people who have all criminal complaints dismissed against them. However, in a NIMBYish way, I'm glad I don't have to wake up to SWAT raids, even if my upstairs neighbors were actually really great. And this is how the War on Drugs keeps chugging along. They make it so that the people who are targeted become social pariahs. I really don't think they needed to batter down both the downstairs door and the apartment door, but after the second time, nobody wants to live in a building where that keeps happening.

This is the apartment version of civil forfeiture. Why should we expect it to be any less awful?
posted by Hactar at 9:54 AM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


The nuisance abatement law inspired one of the most perverse sting operations I've ever encountered. In an effort to shut down adult video stores with peep shows that provided gay men opportunities for sexual encounters, the NYPD sent in undercover officers, attractive young detectives, to proposition middle-aged men cruising at the booths.

When a target agreed to an assignation, the detective would say something like "I'm going to pay you ten dollars if you let me give you a blow job." That would prompt arrest, where the victims would find themselves accused of prostitution. They'd typically be offered a plea bargain that let them avoid serious punishment. Facing the alternative of a public trial as a prostitute, the targets almost invariably agreed.

Two of three instances of the sting in a given location would give the city the pretext to close the shop using the nuisance abatement law.

It was bad enough when the law was being twisted to shut down commercial establishments. The news that it's now being used to make people homeless is infuriating.
posted by layceepee at 10:02 AM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


The sidebar showing judges' frequency of approving these lockouts is both saddening and illuminating. Check out that chasm between the ones who usually approve and the ones who mostly don't. I really hope just the listing of those judges' names next to their 'perfect' score serves as both a tarnish on their reputation and a wake up call for them to stop phoning it in on their job.
posted by lock sock and barrel at 10:22 AM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


For someone with an aversion to tropical/sunny locales, what's the expat destination of choice these days?

Canada.
posted by el io at 10:33 AM on February 5, 2016


God I love Pro Publica.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:52 AM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


ElDiabloConQueso:

With reasonable residency procedures, somewhat legal abortion, same-sex marriage since 2013, broad LGBT rights (some of which the United States is still catching up with), and ostensibly legal marijuana, Uruguay looks pretty darn civilized.

That said, I think Canada has it beat on cold climate. But Uruguay is definitely not tropical.
posted by Mondegreen at 11:17 AM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


New York's Finest??
posted by Burn_IT at 3:06 PM on February 5, 2016


Assistant Commissioner Robert Messner, who heads the NYPD’s Civil Enforcement Unit, concurred, saying, “You have to remember, it’s an action about a place. It’s not about people.”

"It became necessary to destroy the town to save it"
posted by latkes at 3:48 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I began reading, I thought "how in the fuck is this even legal?"
Because nuisance abatement actions are civil proceedings, defendants have no right to an attorney. The tenants and homeowners interviewed by the Daily News and ProPublica were elderly, ailing, poor or unable to speak English and, thus, ill-equipped to navigate the legal maze on their own.
Then came the bit about judges not even needing to be in the room to ensure they've been informed of their rights. Jesus. Especially given that the pretext can all be based on hearsay of an informant. So basically, if your neighbor pisses you off, you can have them ousted?
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 5:45 PM on February 5, 2016


And whenever I hear of flimsy evidence used in arrests or police harrassment with the NYPD, I think of quotas, which apparently includes summons. So in a sense, when the officer says it's not about people, perhaps that's correct-- it's not about protecting people from drug trafficking, it's about cops making their numbers. It seems like that's a big part of going for the low-level users and dealers in the drug war; it's easier to go for the low hanging fruit than to go for a high level trafficker, and you get to make your quotas.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 5:52 PM on February 5, 2016




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