Council Speaker: NYPD Should Lighten Up on Minor Crime

NEW YORK (AP) -

The New York City Council speaker on Saturday urged police to focus less on arresting low-level offenders as a way to help improve their relations with minority communities.

Speaking at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters, Melissa Mark-Viverito pushed for proposals to decriminalize such offenses as farebeating and public indecency.

“We’re examining the way we can expand the use of summonses and desk appearance tickets as opposed to cuffing somebody for a low-level offense and possibly spending some time in jail,” she said.

Sharpton said that “bubble-gum crimes” discriminate against minorities.

Police Commissioner William Bratton has expressed reservations about the proposals, which “on first blush appear to be a significant attempt to limit the ability of police officers in this city to do their job.”

“Quality of life policing will continue and will continue very assertively in this city,” he said. “It’s what made this city safe in the first place.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week he agrees with Bratton.