People around the country, including New Yorkers, are calling for major policing reforms in response to perceived abuse, most vividly illustrated by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some activists are demanding that police departments be abolished entirely, others insist on radical “defunding” of police budgets, and others suggest more modest reforms.
Here in New York, even as we debate big policy changes at the intersection of racism and policing, there’s a concrete step we could take soon to attack the impunity with which some officers behave. Placard abuse may sound picayune, but it’s not.
Placard abuse is a set of common practices associated with the special parking permits given to city employees. It ranges from minor to serious, highly visible violations of the law that leave the public wondering, Which other laws are our public servants flouting?
The behavior includes using illegal license plate covers to escape traffic safety cameras; using placards outside of business hours; the sale of counterfeit placards or paid PBA union cards for “special friends” of the NYPD; and the general practice of parking private and city-owned vehicles on sidewalks and in bus and bike lanes.
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