The NYPD Union Is Endangering the Lives of Its Residents for $500
NEW YORK — August 24, 2018
In response to police being frequently shot by the criminals they are apprehending, the union of NYPD sergeants has announced a $500 reward for citizens who help police with suspects who are resisting arrest.
Officials with the Sergeants Benevolent Association said at a news conference that the reward program would take effect immediately and be advertised around the city on special billboard vehicles.
“Too often we see police officers engaged in violent struggles with perpetrators while members of the public stand by and take videos of the incident with their cell phone cameras," said SBA president Ed Mullins in a statement. “This has got to stop, and hopefully this program will incentivize Good Samaritans to do the right thing.”
Some NYPD officials severely criticized the idea because for security reasons.
“The NYPD encourages people to support their cops by calling 911,” said NYPD spokesman Phil Walzak. “The department doesn’t want to see people put in harm’s way unnecessarily to collect a reward.”
In response, State Sen. Martin Golden said the reward program doesn't force people to provide assistance to the police, but rather rewards 'Good Samaritans' who chopes to provide assistance. The reward can be received even by those who simply help the police in locating a criminal. If a city resident has found a criminal, he can immediately report to the police and receive the cash reward.
A high-ranking NYPD official has said in the past there have been instances where people coming to the aid of cops actually pulled suspects off an officer during a fight and then tried to dish out their own style of vigilante-style justice. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to comment.
Mullins said the sergeants union is still encouraging people to call 911 if they see a cop in a confrontation but didn’t think that the liability in such cases was any different from a situation where someone runs to the aid of a person on the street and gets injured.
“Somewhere people have to stand for what they believe in,” he said.
The NYPD union acknowledged the legal liability issue and noted that Golden is preparing legislation to amend the state’s Good Samaritan law to cover people who come to the aid of public officials in violent struggles. The current law only shields from liability those who are giving medical assistance in cases of an accident or drug or alcohol overdose.
Kassar said the new law would be an addition to existing state law and wouldn’t be an amendment of the current Good Samaritan statute. Language for the proposed bill should be available in a few weeks, Kassar said.
“He likes the idea,” Kassar said of Golden’s reaction to the reward program. “We definitely believe [Mullins] has something here.”
There are two sides of the coin in this matter. On the one hand, the Good Samaritan law will help the police to catch criminals, and on the other hand, as NYPD officials have cautioned it may put their lives at risk. It is not always a question of the criminals, it may also turn out that people will start to fight among themselves attempting to secure the reward.
The practice of police assistance is welcome in many countries around the world, but nowhere do police offer cash rewards for the help. So the question is, why did it come up here and now? Is the money worth the potential life-threatening danger for citizens desperate for money?