NYPD Will No Longer Arrest People for Drinking Alcohol or Urinating in Public

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance at a press conference last year. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance at a press conference last year. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Go ahead and pop the champagne: the NYPD will no longer arrest most people who are caught drinking alcohol in public in Manhattan, the city announced today—but they can still get a summons.

Unless it’s “necessary for public safety reasons,” the NYPD will no longer arrest people for certain low-level offenses in Manhattan, including public consumption of alcohol, public urination, littering and riding between subway cars or taking up more than one subway seat—and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will no longer prosecute those infractions, his office said today. Offenders can still receive summonses, which require them to pay a fine but don’t give them a criminal record, for those offenses. Summonses are already an option for this offenses, and are often given to violators who do not have a warrant.

“Using summonses instead of arrests for low-level offenses is an intuitive and modern solution that will help make sure resources are focused on our main priority: addressing threats to public safety,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Today’s reforms allow our hardworking police officers to concentrate their efforts on the narrow group of individuals driving violent crime in New York City. This plan will also help safely prevent unnecessary jail time for low-level offenses.”

But Mr. de Blasio’s office did not put out a press release about the topic, nor did the NYPD. Instead, it came only from Mr. Vance’s office—meaning it likely missed the mailbox of many in the political press corps. The DA touted it as an announcement from him, Mr. de Blasio, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, but there was no press conference. Mr. Vance was out of state today testifying to Congress, according to his public schedule.

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SOURCE:  
Observer