‘Minor’ Offenses Will No longer Get A Criminal Summons From Harlem To Hollis

June 14, 2017

NY Post reports that people who commit minor violations — like urinating in public or drinking a beer in a city park — will no longer get a criminal summons (from Harlem to Hollis), officials said.

The new patrol guidelines, which went into effect on Tuesday, have been in the works for about a year since the City Council passed a law that overhauled how cops enforce quality-of-life offenses.

About 96% of patrol officers have been trained on the new guidelines — estimated to reduce the number of criminal summonses issued a year by about 100,000.

Instead, people will appear before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, rather than criminal court.

But if you get three summonses and ignore them, you will be sent to criminal court. And if you don’t show up for that hearing, a warrant will be issued, said NYPD Inspector Thomas Taffe.

People with open warrants, prior felony arrests in the past two years, and people on parole or probation will still get C-summons and have to appear in criminal court.

A cop can also cite a “legitimate law enforcement reason” to give a criminal summons, which must be approved by a supervisor who comes to the scene.

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The new rules say civil summonses can be given out for instances of public drinking and urination, littering, spitting, excessive noise and violating park rules — except under limited circumstances.

Cops can still ask someone they catch in one of the small-time crimes for ID to check for warrants, and arrest them if they have an open warrant or cannot produce ID.

Taffe said in those instances, cops will allow people to get their ID before making an arrest.

“The last thing we want is for someone to go through the system for drinking a beer and no ID or spitting and no ID,” he said.

Taffe said he did not think the crime rate will be affected.

“As long as police officers are out there paying attention to what’s going on and intervening in these low-level violations, we stopped you from doing what you’re doing,” he said.

Councilman Rory Lancman called the move “a huge step forward,” but questioned the exceptions.

The exceptions for recidivists “will unfairly burden and impact communities of color, because in those communities more people are on parole or probation and more people are arrested, even if they’re not ultimately convicted,” he said, “All it does is perpetuate a cycle of involvement in the criminal justice system.”

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