Why People of Color in NYC Still Don’t Trust the Cops
On July 17, New York City police officers surrounded Eric Garner, an overweight, asthmatic black man, near his home on Staten Island. According to Garner’s neighborhood pal Ramsey Orta, the cops were hassling Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, because they thought he was involved in a street scuffle. The police’s version of the incident is that they approached Garner for selling individual cigarettes—“loosies”—which is illegal because the government doesn’t collect taxes on those sales.
As captured on video by Orta, Garner complained about routine NYPD harassment and was subsequently placed in a choke hold by a plainclothes officer named Daniel Pantaleo. With his head being smashed against the ground and the cops holding him down, Garner cried out, “I can’t breathe!” nine times—you can watch the video on YouTube yourself and count—to no avail. He was pronounced dead at a hospital an hour later, and the video quickly went viral. It bears a horrifying resemblance to the climactic scene of Radio Raheem getting murdered by the NYPD in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing—Lee even created his own mash-up of the two scenes after Garner’s death.
Almost immediately, cries rang out that Garner was a casualty of “broken windows” policing. That’s the theory that says going after minor quality-of-life offenses like graffiti, subway panhandling, and illegal cigarette sales helps discourage serious crimes like rape and murder. It’s the brainchild of criminologist George Kelling, who co-authored a 1982 Atlantic article that remains a sort of manual for modern policing in America. Broken windows was popularized by William Bratton, the NYPD commissioner in the 90s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani who has taken up his old post under the new mayor, Bill de Blasio. The mythology holds that it was the chief factor in the city’s incredible turnaround since the high-crime 70s and 80s—though many criminologists disagree.
You’ve heard a lot from us about Sandy Kim. She’s been in our magazine and on our websitetons of times, mostly due to the fact that she’s one of our favorite photographers making work today. She mixes intelligent ideas with tits and dicks and a no-fucks-given attitude, and we love her for it. But can you believe she’s never had a solo show in her home city of New York? We can’t either. That all changes tonight. Our other good photo buddy, Lele Severi, one of the geniuses behind the Newsstand in the Lorimer L stop station, has opened a new space called Muddgutsthat will host workshops, signings, screenings, and art shows. of which Sandy’s is the first. It all happens tonight at 41 Montrose Ave. in Brooklyn, and you should definitely come. We hear there may be special guests!
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the work in the show…
If you live in San Francisco and like photography, topless girls, or having a good time, you have only one place to be tonight: Sandy Kim, who takes great photos in the process of documenting the kind of carefree life your parents always worried you’d have, is having an art show at the Ever Gold Gallery. She’ll be showing all new work, much of which features the aformentioned topless girls (and some dudes, for you girls and you, ahem, San Francisco men). Sandy’s been taking photos for the magazine for awhile, so she has our stamp of approval. If you need more encouragement, take a gander at these images she sent us that serve as a preview of the show. C’mon, San Francisco! It’ll be fun!
Opening for Sandy Kim
September 5, 7-10 PM
Ever Gold Gallery
441 O’Farrell St
San Francisco, CA, 94102
More of Sandy’s work
Koch: I wanted to get rid of New York’s graffiti problem, but I wasn’t in charge of the subways, the MTA was. I called the MTA into City Hall and told them they had to get rid of the graffiti. I presented them with a plan to do it: Kids were spray-painting train cars in the yards at night because there weren’t any fences. I told them, just put up a fence and put some dogs inside. They got scared, worried that the dogs would bite people, so I said, “OK, if you don’t want any chance of dogs biting people, get wolves.” That’s the problem with the new Liam Neeson movie, The Grey. There’s no recorded case of a wild wolf ever having bitten or attacked a single human being in North America.
I don’t believe that.
Well, it’s true. The next day Clyde Haberman of the New York Times came to me and told me he’d checked my statement and that there are records of domesticated wolves biting humans. I said, “I know that! I’m not talking about a domesticated wolf. I’m talking about wild wolves. Let’s have wild wolves protect the trains. If the wild wolves become tame, replace them with more wild ones.”
So you recommended that the MTA fight graffiti with wild wolves?
—Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has died at 88. We spoke with him in 2012.