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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton Announce Change in Marijuana Policy

November 10, 2014

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton: Good afternoon. Are we all set? Okay, great. Thank you for joining us this afternoon. If I may, let me introduce the members of my command staff who are here with Mayor de Blasio and I. This is the group that has been working on development of this policy change over the last number of months. To my left and to your right is chief of our Organized Crime Control Bureau and Narcotics Units – is Chief Tom Purtell. Next to him is Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce. Next to him is Chief of Department Jim O’Neill. To my right – your left – is Liz Glazer, who heads up the mayor’s criminal justice coordination activities; Susan Herman, who is my deputy commissioner for collaborative strategies; and next to her is Dermot Shea, deputy commissioner for Operations – he runs our CompStat processes; and newly appointed First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker. And certainly, you all know Mayor de Blasio. 

This is the group within the department and mayor’s office that, over the last number of months, has been working on a number of policy changes. This is the latest one that we’ve agreed on and are going forward with in the police department. So, let me speak to that. I want to talk about a change in the NYPD’s marijuana enforcement policy. This policy, detailed in an operations order that will be issued tomorrow but will be effective November 19th – that will give us the opportunity to do roll call training for our field personnel to understand the intimacies of that order. This order, which will go into effect on November 19th, addresses one provision of the current New York state penal law statute pertaining to possession of marijuana in an amount of up to 25 grams in open view, which is presently processed as a misdemeanor-level arrest. Under the new policy, persons found to be in possession of this amount of marijuana – 25 grams or less – may be eligible to be receive a summons in lieu of arrest – so, summons instead of being arrested. 

However, I point out there are exceptions to the provisions of this new department policy. It should be made very clear, that persons who are burning and/or smoking marijuana in public will still be subject to arrest. This policy does not pertain – excuse me – this policy does not pertain to marijuana in any amount, which is being smoked or burned or being used in public. There are several other exceptions under which persons in possessions of up to 25 grams of marijuana in public view will still be subject to arrest or a misdemeanor charge – if a person is the subject of an active warrant, or is wanted in connection with an active investigation, a probable cause I-card. If a person is unable to produce proper personal identification within a reasonable amount of time, they will still be transported back to the station house where they will be given the opportunity to have somebody bring in the appropriate identification. Additionally, if the amount is not consistent with personal use – by that, if it’s over 25 grams, it is assumed that it is for sale and they will be charged appropriately. 

We have discussed this policy with the mayor over the last number of months and Liz Glazer and with the courts, as well as the city’s five district attorneys. I spoke today to all five of the district attorneys. We have provided them, several hours ago, with copies of the actual order – and also with the special narcotics prosecutor, although she does not usually deal with this type of drug crime. Additionally, I just met with the leader of our five unions upstairs. They were all given copies of the order and we had a discussion with them relative to its provisions as it pertains to their members. A final operations order detailing this change will be disseminated starting tomorrow and again, it will take effect on November 19th. With that, I’d like to turn it over to Mayor de Blasio and then we would both be available to answer questions initially on-topic on this subject, and then I will be available to answer other police-related matters off-topic. Mr. Mayor? 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much, commissioner. Commissioner, thank you again for your leadership. This is an example of another important step, both for keeping the people of New York City safe and building a closer relationship between the police and community in this city. And I think, in so much of what you’ve done over this last 10 months, you’ve continued to move this department forward, and have continued to bring it closer to the communities it served. I want to thank you for that leadership. I came into office with a pledge to incessantly work to heal some of the wounds of the past and create a strong bond – an ever stronger bond between police and community. We’ve seen a number of changes in the last 10 months that have brought us forward. We’ve seen a great reduction in the number of unnecessary stops. We’ve seen a plan to retrain every single officer, to help make them more effective and more able to work closely with the communities they serve. We’ve seen greater oversight, with a reinforced CCRB, and the new Inspector General. Today is another important step, and I'm proud to join the commissioner in the announcement of these new guidelines that will help reduce unnecessary arrests for minor marijuana possession. 

Too many New Yorkers without any prior convictions have been arrested for low-level marijuana possession. Black and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected. There have been, in some cases, disastrous consequences for individuals and families. When an individual is arrested, even for the smallest possession of marijuana, it hurts their changes to get a good job, it hurts their chances to get housing, it hurts their chances to qualify for a student loan – it can literally follow them the rest of their lives, and saddle young people with challenges that for many are very, very difficult to overcome. This is obviously not our intention. Our intention is to help all New Yorkers, particularly get our young people on the right track, and avoid these unnecessary consequences.

As you heard from the commissioner, effective a week from this coming Wednesday on November 19th, there'll be new guidelines for our police officers. And that is for situations in which a person possesses less than 25 grams of marijuana. The officer will have the opportunity to issue a summons charging a violation rather than an arrest. 

Now, let's be clear. Safety is our top priority, and as the commissioner said, there's been a conversation over months, to make sure we could implement a smart policy that keeps New Yorkers safe, but is also a more fair policy. After lots of careful consultation, and a lot of collaboration between One Police Plaza and City Hall, and as you heard, the DAs and others, we've come to a policy that makes sense. And throughout, we've made clear that officer discretion is crucial in all matters. An officer ultimately has to make the judgment on the scene. They have to decide whether there are some other telltale signs that the individual involved may be involved in much more dangerous activities. There may be red flags that point to other problems, and that will change the officer's view of how to handle a situation, and that's what we train our officers to determine. For example, if someone's smoking in close proximity to schools and playgrounds, or in possession in close proximity to schools and playgrounds, that could be a dead giveaway. If someone, obviously, shows any evidence of intent to sell, that's someone who gets arrested.

I hasten to add – and this is a matter of, I think, public information that we have to keep emphasizing – those who don't have ID – and this is particularly true of our young people – those who don't have ID in general, whether it's a marijuana charge or any other kind of charge, often end up being arrested simply because police cannot prove their identity, and have to therefore pursue that identity. It is crucial for all New Yorkers to carry ID, particularly our young people. That is related to today's announcement, but I think it's an overall point that we really have to get across – carrying ID is absolutely crucial at all times for a lot of reasons, but especially to help our police officers if and when someone comes into contact with a police officer. 

We believe in training our officers effectively, and giving them the tools they need. We believe in their ability to exercise their discretion. We keep honing it all the time with better and better training. And this policy will allow officers, in the case where they do find it appropriate to give a summons, to continue on with their work, and to able to put, therefore, more time and energy into fighting more serious crime, rather than get bogged down with the time and energy necessary for an unproductive arrest.

I've said many times, I've said this a lot in the last few weeks, we have the finest police force in the nation – I would argue the finest police force in the world. We have the finest leader anywhere in this nation or this world in Commissioner Bratton. We are the finest because we keep working at it. Commissioner Bratton is legendary for his desire to constantly innovate and improve, make this department better and more up to date at all times. 

Today's announcement is consistent with his desire to keep making the work of the NYPD stronger. And I want to thank him for that commitment. We share a vision that says when our police and communities grow closer together, we will fight crime even more effectively. Much more information will flow to our police officers so they can do their job even better. This is part of a long-term effort, not only to create a unity between police and community for its own sake, but to make us safer in the process. 

To do that, we have to keep thinking of ways to do things better. We have to keep thinking of ways to address real concerns that community residents have, and getting away from these unproductive arrests is an example of that. It's part of how we will remain the safest big city in the nation – it's part of how we will get safer still. 

Just a few words in Spanish before your questions. 

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

We welcome your questions on this policy.

Commissioner Bratton: Please.

Question: So if I understand you correctly, referring to [inaudible] Do you have any sense of how to estimate how many people [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: The – for purposes of the state charge as it involves misdemeanor, there is no differentiation in terms of the – in the statute, between possession versus the smoking and burning. So, let me give you some figures as best we understand them, as of this morning. As of November 10th, we have made 24,081 arrests for marijuana possession, which would include both burning charges as well as open view possession. We don't have that breakdown – that would require almost a hand count to be able to do that. That, I would point out, is a decline so far this year of 3 percent from last year's figure, where we made 2– excuse me, 24,828 arrests. So, as to what number, in terms of fewer arrests, will we be making, we're just going to have to see over time as we go forward, because we've already been experiencing, over the last several years, a declining number of arrests in this category.

Mayor: Can I just jump in, commissioner – maybe you can point out that chart closest to us, because I think it speaks volumes on the numbers overall.

Commissioner Bratton: In terms of the chart there, that the mayor's referencing – actually shows the trending of marijuana arrests in the city, and as you can see, for the last several years, they've been trending down dramatically, and our anticipation is they will continue to trend down as a result of this new policy. 

Question: [inaudible] issued a department-wide memo of some sort [inaudible] how specific [inaudible] it didn't necessarily change [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: Specifically, if you're talking 2010, if you notice where you start getting that very precipitous drop – there was a procedure in which officers would ask people to – if you have anything in your pockets, then empty the pockets, and then they'd make an arrest for the open view, for something that they had voluntarily complied with, and the commissioner issued, back in – I think it was 2010, 2011 – a clarification that that was not to be done, that effectively that was inappropriate. That order began the decline in marijuana arrests significantly for the open view charge.

Question: [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: Trending down over time – I understand there are other trends underway, it's not just specific to the policy. Similarly, as was seen this year, the trending is still down, by a smaller percentage, but it's down – as I just referenced – as of this morning, by about another 3 percent. For your purposes, to give you a sense of – you or the public – what 25 grams of marijuana would look like, that's about it. 

[Commissioner Bratton displays bag of oregano]

And, so, not a large amount, and the number of joints, if you will, that could be made from that, that amount varies significantly depending on how much they put in each joint. But that's about 25 grams. This, for clear explanation purposes, is oregano, it is not marijuana. And all I can think of right now is pizza, because I usually like oregano on my pizza. So, if you smell it, it's – that's not marijuana. But just for purposes of giving you an idea what we're talking about.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Well, first of all, I –

Question: – how the policy's different?

Mayor: I respect you, but I will have to differ with your question, and the premise of your question, and I saw a report this morning that equally misstated my view of DA Thompson, who is someone I respect greatly, and a friend, and I thought – I've spoken to this publicly – his action was, first of all, his right to take as DA. And he proposed an idea, and then had very detailed discussion with the NYPD to determine the appropriate way to go about it. So, I think the notion that there was some difference there was greatly exaggerated. The DA put out an idea, and there was a lot of dialogue to determine how best to make sense of it. Equally, my best understanding of what he said – reported in the paper this morning – was referring to some broad ideas, but not yet having seen the policy. I refer you to the commissioner, who's been talking to the DAs directly about the actual policy. 

Commissioner Bratton: Let me speak to that. The reporter – the piece in the New York Times this morning, in my understanding, was he had attempted to talk to all the district attorneys. The only one that actually did speak to him was District Attorney Thompson. The district attorney and his staff had not yet seen the final policy, so he was being asked questions about a policy he had not yet seen – and, which I might point out, the reporter had not yet seen. So, the reporter was dealing with no intimacies as to what I've just articulated to you. I'm very comfortable that the five district attorneys, who can all speak for themselves – that we had discussions with them over the last number of months, about the direction we were going, and that they tend to look at this as a benefit, in that it reduces their criminal caseload, and moves it over to the summons part, where it's much less – actually, for all of them, there's no burden at all, because they're not involved in the summons part. 
Sir. I'm sorry, and then I'll move back to this side of the – not neglected the right, in deference to the right, but – let's do this, and then we'll come back over. Thank you.

Question: It came out a few weeks ago, it was referenced in the Times, about marijuana arrests, [inaudible] during a search, when a police officer asks the person to empty their pockets – so focus – why not focus on the searches, why not focus on that law that –

Commissioner Bratton: Because we, as I previously pointed out to the first question – Commissioner Kelly addressed that back in 2011, 2010, and that began that precipitous decline. So, that practice of asking people to empty their pockets and then arresting them for the open view is not something that the department currently practices. If the officer, in the course of a lawful search, basically finds marijuana, well, then, he certainly is in a position to actually charge for that. But that practice was something that Commissioner Kelly corrected back three, four years ago.

Question: Do you know how often those fines are given out, versus summons – the hundred dollar fines for possession –

Commissioner Bratton: That I don't know. I can't answer that one for you. Sorry. 
Over this side.

Question: [inaudible] offering a summons to someone who [inaudible] how concerned are you about that, and about the morale of officers in general, [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: Officers oftentimes don't agree with policies. That's why we have differences of opinion, sometimes, but management's role is to develop and implement and ensure that policies are complied with. This will be the policy of the New York City police department. It will be complied with. If there is disagreement, fine, but there will be no not enforcing it. The idea here is that I have made a decision, based on extensive discussion with my leadership team, that this is beneficial to the department, beneficial – I think – to some citizens of this city who would be arrested rather than now being summonsed. Benefits to the department is that I save an awful lot of arrest-processing time for an offense that, when it gets before the prosecutor and the judge, oftentimes nothing happens. Meantime, I'm also paying overtime costs for an officer to be in court while that's occurring. So, from a management perspective, there are great benefits. From a perspective of the concerns that have been voiced by many communities in this city, many advocates, that too many people are unnecessarily arrested – that this will reduce those arrests. However, if that individual fails to respond to the summons, a warrant will be issued, and they will be arrested on that warrant for failing to appear on the summons. So, what we are attempting to do is encourage appropriate behavior. 

Question: [inaudible] summons, if somebody has marijuana [inaudible] the possibility of a [inaudible] confrontation [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: I guess I don't quite understand that, Dave, because if we're attempting to arrest them, that might increase it even more – rather than giving them a summons. I think by diminishing the action we're taking – might actually, if you will, let the steam out of the situation – "Here's a summons, you'll appear in court at a future date, instead of me putting handcuffs on you and taking you to the station and probably taking 24-36 hours to process you." So, I would hope that the average person would take the summons and go on their way. If they, in fact, decide that they're going to resist, well, then they're going to be arrested, and basically get into the process. If you're reporting the PBA comments accurately, I guess I'd have to say I don't agree with that comment. 

Question: I'm just wondering, is [inaudible] essentially up to the officers' discretion to follow this policy, [inaudible] red flags [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: No, basically, what we are indicating is, you know, there's a certainty guesstimate involved, if you will, that in terms of, you know, 25, 30 grams, but the idea is all marijuana that the officer takes into custody will be processed and analyzed.  So, even if the individual receives a summons, because that have an identification on them, they are not wanted on a warrant, they are not on an I-card – probable cause I-card – that person will then be allowed to go on their way. The officer will take the marijuana to the station and process it under our normal procedures. So, they are not going to leave with their marijuana, if you will. Or we’re not going to just throw it down the nearest sewer – that it will be processed in the normal manner.

Question: [inaudible] the officer can decide when they’re going to arrest the person –

Commissioner Bratton: It’s pretty straightforward. If, in fact, the marijuana is in open view, and is 25 grams or less, the officer can then issue a summons. If it is more than 25 grams, they should make an arrest.

Question: Okay, but you say ‘can’ so they can choose also to arrest them?

Commissioner Bratton: There is a certain degree of discretion in a lot of what police do. I’m not going to sit here and tell you in the 30,000 incidents that there they are all going to go exactly this way. There’s a certain amount of discretion involved in the circumstance of each of these encounters that officers have. Policy is a guideline to the best of our ability.

Mayor: But just to clarify, an outstanding warrant, for example, is a reason why you would go to arrest even if it was under 25 grams. So, that’s the kind of discretion that officers normally exercise.

Question: [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: I would expect that they encounter somebody with more than 25 grams, they would make an arrest. That is my expectation. That’s the policy guidelines that we are issuing. If less than 25 – understanding until we actually measure it, that there are a certain degree of discretion as to whether the officer feels – we might not find out until its actually brought into the station and sent into the lab for processing – as to exactly how much marijuana was actually involved in the incident.

Question: Commissioner and Mr. Mayor, what’s happening around the country [inaudible] I wonder what your personal feelings are about whether marijuana should be legalized in New York City.

Commissioner Bratton: I’ll start off. I am not in favor of the legalization of marijuana under any circumstance. We will watch – myself and my other colleagues and major city chiefs around the country – what’s going on in California and Washington – both states which have legalized – excuse me not California, Nebraska – Nevada – excuse me, Colorado and Washington – two states which have legalized it. There was a subject of significant discussion at the mayor city chiefs conference recently held in Orlando – a lot of the unknowns relative to driving under the influence of marijuana, which is very difficult to detect at the very moment. There’s a lot of unknowns so, we’ll watch that. But, just so you are aware, that I am not supportive of legalization of marijuana and don’t intend to – don’t anticipate that I will be ever supportive of it.

Mayor: Yeah, I agree with the commissioner and I’ll tell you, my view is that not only the very very real concerns that the commissioner have laid out – which are deep concerns for me, and particularly what marijuana can lead to in a young person’s life and the problems that can come from it. But, on top of that, I think the notion that right now there are two states, that have chosen this path – we’ve already seen some real challenges come with that. I think that the rest of the country should watch very carefully what happens in those two states. I don’t think anyone should rush to judgment until we see the real experience, over years, in those states. So, I am not comfortable with notion of legalization, but we at least have objective fact – two states will proceed over the next few years and we will learn from that and that will help us determine the future.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Absolutely.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Any substance that alters your consciousness is a potential danger, especially when you’re driving. It’s quite obvious, and we lose a lot of young people each year because of that. So, I agree with the commissioner’s position. And again, if we want to have the discussion, let’s have it after seeing several years of experience in two of our fellow states.

Question: One of the issues that a lot of people have expressed concern with – City Council members and advocates as well – that it appears black and Latino young men are arrested more, given more summonses. How does this policy change that, when they say, usually it’s the black and Latino men who are given a ticket or arrested – whatever it might be.

Commissioner Bratton: We’ll see over time if that changes, but what I point out is the chart to my far left showing 9-1-1 calls and 3-1-1 calls. A lot of our activity – enforcement activity – is in response to citizens calling about somebody smoking dope or dealing dope in my hallway, public housing development, street corner. And, the vast, vast, vast majority of those calls are to the city’s poor neighborhoods, the minority neighborhoods. So, part of our attention is focused by citizens themselves, asking us to do something about deterioration of quality of life in their neighborhoods. I would point out that ironically – that by issuing summonses, some of the ability to track – in terms of who is being arrested by race, ethnicity – will now lost because the state summons form does not have a block for identifying race or ethnicity – something that would probably be appropriate to change because the irony is – what’s the expression – "No good deed goes unpunished?" As we issue more summonses, we’ll have less delineation of who are summonses are being issued to. However, we will still have our best statistics, which will be a very accurate barometer going forward – with the percentage of those being arrested from the minority communities.

Mayor: Just want to jump in – just one quick second. I think, look, to the question – I think the fact that you will see fewer unnecessary arrests, will be good for New York City as a whole. It will certainly be good for New Yorkers of color and particularly young people of color. There’s no question about that. We’ll see how the numbers come out over time, but there’s no question in mind there will be a very substantial impact. And for a lot of young people, it means they will not have this reality holding them back. A summons is not going to affect their future, an arrest could. And we want to avoid that unnecessary burden.

Question: [inaudible]                            

Commissioner Bratton: It would be my assumption that the idea that it could be, as to whether that would in fact be the case, I can’t speak to that. Possibly some of my colleagues here who have more intimacy with the court protocols here might be able to speak to that. Jimmy, you or Bob, would you have an answer to that? If not, we can get that answer for you. Jimmy, this was the issue of once we get it back to the lab, and that the lab shows it's 28, 30 grams rather than 25, which a summons was issued – that is the ability to then issue a new charge going forward.

Chief of Patrol James O’Neill: Within the spirit of the law, I would say probably not, because that would entail us to go back out and re-arrest the person. The whole purpose operationally, for me as chief of department, is to keep people – keep cops on the street. So, it’s an issue we'd – I’d have to discuss with all of the District Attorney's Offices but right now, my preference is to keep cops on patrol.

Question: [inaudible] 

Commissioner Bratton: Jimmy, you can speak to that again. There was a distinct difference between the two. Jimmy.

Chief O’Neill: So, if you’re going to be arrested, you’re going to get fingerprinted, and you’re going to get photographed. If you’re going to get a summons  – neither. You have to be properly ID'd, but you’re not going to be subjected to being fingerprinted and photographed. So, that’s the major difference between getting a summons and getting a DAT.

Mayor: You don't have to go to the station house. [Laughs]

Question: Is it a record that follows you [inaudible]?

Chief O’Neill: It depends what the disposition – the court disposition – and it got to be a summons-able offense. It’s a violation. It’s not a crime.

Commissioner Bratton: I think what you’re asking – if I may, that usually on employment forms they ask have you ever been arrested. They're not asking if you’ve ever been summonsed, have you ever gotten a parking ticket. So, usually it’s – there’s some push now to actually even change that to have you ever been convicted. And so, that summons is – you’re not going to be asked that, if you will.

Question: How much is that summons going to be for?

Commissioner Bratton: What is the fine for – Susan Herman, deputy commissioner of Collaborative Strategies.

Deputy Commissioner of Collaborative Policing Susan Herman: So, the summons is not going to be a part of your rap sheet, so it doesn’t stay with you. And the fine is up to $100 dollars. It’s at the courts discretion for the first offense and then it’s up to $250 – I’m just trying to see for the – I believe, for the second offense within three years. That’s up to the court.

Question: [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: Jimmy can speak to that, but the mayor and I participated with Cy Vance about a week and a half, two weeks ago, about the technology we’re acquiring that will put into all of 6,000 of our field vehicles the ruggedized tablets that will allow the officers and the RMPs to instantly – basically, access in a much quicker fashion than they've been able to up to now – that type of information. And then, eventually, all 35,000 of our field officers will have smartphones that will allow them to do exactly the same thing. And we've referenced the fingerprinting technology – it is now also capable of being attached to that device. That's something that we'll be looking very closely at, so that over time – in the relatively near future – the ability to confirm identifications will be very significantly enhanced, and speeded up very significantly. 

Question: How many weeks after the [inaudible] will a person have to appear in court to answer the summons?

Commissioner Bratton: Susan, is there an average time on the summons?

Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman: Several weeks.

Commissioner Bratton: Several weeks, she's telling me. May vary from borough to borough.

Unknown: Two more on this topic.

Question: What's the street value of that amount?

Commissioner Bratton: On –

Mayor: Of oregano? [Laughs] Not much. [Laughs]

Commissioner Bratton: Chief, how much…? $300 dollars. And –

Question: [inaudible] this move as a tacit endorsement of going ahead [inaudible] personal use of marijuana.

Mayor: No. No, absolutely not. Look, the law is a law, but what we're trying to do is approach the enforcement of the law in a smarter way. I want to emphasize, the time and energy that will be saved because of this policy change will be used to address more serious crimes. And I think, as the chief said, our goal is to keep cops out on the front line where they can do the most good to protect people. But we also don't want to saddle people who've made one small mistake with something that will follow them the rest of their lives. So, they did something wrong, they have to – they get a warrant, you know, they have to go in – a summons, I should say – they have to go in, and they have to pay, and they have to do what the court dictates. So, there's still a very clear process, but what we're avoiding is unnecessary arrests, and in the process, giving our officers the ability to focus on more serious crime.

Commissioner Bratton: If I may, in terms of adding to the mayor's comment about more serious crime – as reported in the media last week, and then once again this morning, that the department had stopped buy-and-bust operations – that is a categorically false reporting of the facts. That is a basic function of the New York City Police Department – has been and always will be. There was significant misreporting of discussions that were held in this department, in terms of guidance to our narcotics offices and the Organized Crime Control Bureau, in which the focus was, as the mayor was talking about, my highly-trained narcotics investigators – I don't want them making arrests for open view of 25 grams of marijuana. I've got plenty of precinct cops moving around that encounter that, responding to those 30,000 9-1-1 calls. I want those narcotics buy-and-busts focusing on significant sales of that type of drug, whether it's marijuana or the emerging problem drug that we're having – heroin. So, to that end, as part of the rebuttal of that assertion, that we have stopped buy-and-bust – buy-and-busts for marijuana are up 30 percent this year. Buy-and-busts for heroin are up – let me get the exact figure, this is as of November 3rd – heroin are up 25 percent. So, why are some of the press continuing to try to scare the hell out of people in this city, that the New York City Police Department is somehow in full retreat from the practice and policies – many of which I put into effect last time I was here – we are not retreating from enforcing the law. We are going to continually focus on improving the quality of our arrests, and the focus of those arrests, and that's exactly what we're doing with buy-and-bust. As the drug problem changes in this city – heroin is emerging as a major problem – we'll be focusing our best trained detectives on that problem. I don't want them chasing down 25 gram bags of marijuana, and tying themselves up in court for endless hours, so let's get real about some of that, if you will. Okay. 

Mayor: Let me just jump in a second – I think what the commissioner said is very, very powerful and rich – I want to pick up on this point. Let's look at what this commissioner has achieved. Let's look at what the men and women of the NYPD have achieved. I've talked about it before, but I think it really has to be looked at in this context – the month of August 2014, the month of September 2014, the month of October 2014 – in each case, the lowest overall crime in over 20 years for that given month. Something extraordinary is happening. So I just want to amplify the point the commissioner is making about the state of the NYPD today. The state of the NYPD is, the NYPD is on the offensive, fighting crime, doing it more effectively all the time. And that's with fewer unnecessary stops – something we instituted from the beginning of this year – now, there will be fewer unnecessary low-level marijuana arrests. What does that mean? That time and energy goes into fighting more serious crime. So, I think when you look at the pattern overall, it's quite extraordinary – a series of reforms being made, and they are bringing police and community closer together as we speak. In the process, crime fighting becomes more effective. Look at how many fewer robberies than this point last year. Look at the fact that murders are down. Something very positive is happening, and these reforms are allowing even better things to happen. This is a department that is getting better and stronger. 

Question: The summons – the fine for the summons – [inaudible] and beyond that, one of the goals is to strengthen your bonds with your community, but if the summonses are disproportionately affecting minority groups, this policy wouldn't solve that [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: As has been referenced, the fine is $100 dollars, first offense. Second, subsequent offense is $250 dollars. One of the ways to avoid a summons is – don't do it. It's that simple. Don't smoke it, don't carry it, don't use it – it's still against the law. So, I'm not giving get-out-of-jail-free cards. If you want to do that, go to the legislature and see if they want to change it. So, there are certain things known as responsibilities. The public has a responsibility to obey the law. Our responsibility is to enforce it. To enforce it to the best of our ability, and in as humane a fashion as possible, and within the discretion that we're given, so, thank you for asking that question, because it basically goes to the heart of this – obey the law. And then you won't have to deal with us at all. If I may – just, you had your hand up –

Mayor: Let me just jump on this, one second, I apologize. The – Henry, I admire your reporting, but I have to say, as a common sense matter, think a little bit more deeply about this – would you rather be arrested or be given a summons? God forbid you ever violated the law – I can't imagine such a thing – but would rather be taken to the precinct, fingerprinted, kept for a substantial amount of time, or would you be rather – would you rather be handed a summons? I think if you think for a moment – rhetorical question – I think if you think for a moment –

Question: I was ready to answer it.

Mayor: I'm sure you were. If you think for a moment, people in all communities, regardless of background, will understand and appreciate the fact that – particularly with our young people, who may make a mistake from time to time – that mistake will not have as negative an impact on their future, if it is a summons versus an arrest. Secondly, to the question earlier, how people respond – by definition, someone being told, you broke the law, there's a consequence, do what it says on this piece of paper, show up when you're supposed to, pay your debt – is going to feel a lot better about the reality than someone having to be taken in to the precinct. It stands to reason, this is a policy that many people will appreciate as a smart, sane policy – also, what do people want in neighborhoods all over the city? They want cops on the beat. They want cops doing their job. They're going to recognize this frees up time for cops to focus on more serious crimes. So, yes, it will improve the relationship between police and community.

Unknown: Any other topics [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: Last question on topic, then we'll switch off to the other.

Question: I was just going to ask, since you [inaudible] how are you going to measure the effectiveness of this if you're not able to sort of track who was getting summons – are you going to follow and track 9-1-1 call complaints about –

Commissioner Bratton: We track all this stuff every day. So, how we will track it will be – will the calls go down for 9-1-1 – to 9-1-1, 3-1-1? Will the arrests go down over time? Hopefully, will the summonses go down? We intimately track all of this stuff all the time. That's CompStat. That's how we identify where we need to put our cops, when we need to put them there. But the purpose of that chart at the very end is to reinforce that a lot of what we're doing on the enforcement of marijuana-related laws is a response to the public desire that we do something. And the vast majority of those calls are coming from the poor neighborhoods of the city, and they're entitled to police services as much as anybody else, particularly if the problem in that area – relates specifically to the problem in their area. We attempt to balance ourselves as best we can, but on this issue, we'll be able to track it very closely going forward. I'm hoping, and I would like to see fewer arrests, I'd like to see fewer summonses, and I'd like to see fewer complaints, because that would mean that the problem is, in fact, getting better – is resolving itself.

Unknown: Any other topics – police-related matters only.  

Question: [inaudible] just went down in the city, so should we anticipate seeing more speeding summonses [inaudible] between now and the end of the year, going forward?

Commissioner Bratton: I would anticipate that would be the case, that, you know, we will – certainly, as we do from time to time – have campaigns to continue drawing attention to the issue, but the speed limit has been reduced in the city, and – as part of Vision Zero initiative, and hopefully over time that will have impact on the number of collisions, as well as, certainly, fatalities. But I would anticipate that, particularly in the early stages, that we will see an increase in ticketing activity for that particular offense. 

Question: [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: If I may, I'm going to ask Detective Chief Bob Boyce to come up and speak to that series of incidents. In some respects, it goes to the point the mayor was talking – we've had trending, for three months, down in a lot of categories, but as you're well aware – particularly those of you who cover the police – we have spikes also. And the spikes – the idea is to get in very quickly, identify where the pattern or trend is developing, and to push it down as quickly as possible. So, we've had one of those such spikes in the – I think you're referring to the 40 Precinct, shootings?

Question: No, [inaudible] 103 [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: Ok, well, I'll talk about – I'll ask Bob to brief you on two, because we're currently chasing down two incidents that have occurred within the last couple of hours. Bob.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce: Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. We had a police shooting on 142nd Street in the 103 Precinct this afternoon. And roughly, what happened was, at about one o'clock this afternoon, we had a report of a burglary in progress, [inaudible] inside a location. A woman was upstairs in her house, and she heard someone breaking things downstairs. She then called her neighbor across the street, and told her, and that neighbor called 9-1-1. Two officers from the 103 Precinct responded. They saw the woman as they got out of the car. She was directing them from the window downstairs of the house. They did a perimeter check at that point, and found a breach in the rear of the house – a broken back door. At this time, they entered the back through the back door, and they confronted an individual in the front of the house in the living room. That individual then – they had a confrontation, we had one of our officers – excuse me – with a rather severe head injury. It looks like he was struck with an object, whether it be a crowbar or a hammer – at this point, it's difficult to tell – but it looks like it was either one of those things, both of which were on hand. Each officer then fired one round each, struck the individual twice – he's non-life-threatening. He was removed to the hospital – Jamaica Hospital – as well as the officers [inaudible] right now. We did find a substantial amount of evidence to suggest there was a burglary. Jewelry was thrown about the house, burglar tools, and things of that nature. We've identified the male, but we're ready to release his name right now, because there's other – I don't know if we notified the family yet. But he's not likely to die at this juncture. The commissioner was speaking about an incident in the 44 Precinct, which is right next to the 40 Precinct, in the Morrisania Air Rights Housing Development, up in the south Bronx. We had two individuals who were in a elevator, about 11 o' clock today, both of which were shot once each. They [inaudible] succumbed to their injuries and were moved to Lincoln Hospital, at which time we began an investigation, and we were able to make an apprehension who we believe is the perpetrator of the crime. Again, I'm about three hours into this, so I'm not going to give out his name right now, but we did recover a gun as well.

Question: [inaudible]

Chief Robert Boyce: It's unknown right now. Like I said, we have to figure out – we have the perpetrator back at the station house, who we believe to be the perpetrator, with the gun – crime scene is still up, so we got a bit of a ways to go before I start – a little – it would be a little speculative if I say that right now. 

Unknown: Thank you folks. 

Mayor: Thank you.

Commissioner Bratton: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor: All right. Well done.

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