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Brooklyn borough president 'not surprised' by racial disparity in social-distancing arrests

Posted at 8:14 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 08:23:01-04

NEW YORK — With a rash of videos hitting social media showing the NYPD using excessive force, residents are questioning the tactics being used to enforce social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Brooklyn, data indicates that the majority of New Yorkers arrested for social-distancing violations are black.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said the data was “deeply troubling,” but he “was not surprised” by the numbers.

“Clearly you knew that there was a different method being used based on where the geography was in the borough and in the city," he said.

“We need to get police out of this level of enforcement.”

When compared to people spending time in parks in Chelsea without the same penalization as incidents in Brooklyn or Queens, Adams explained it “says the wrong message across the board.”

Adams also said he sees similarities to stop-and-frisk. “This is just a spillover of some form of stop-and-frisk. We can’t let that happen again.”

He suggests people should have to allow civilians to do so. “Let’s stop using a fancy term, let’s just say stay away from each other.”

Adams has been handing out masks and said many people don’t understand the severity of COVID-19 because of language barriers and not everyone watches the mayor’s press conferences. He said people need to do things “on the ground level.”