The NYPD didn’t have a plan to fill the void left by disbanding the controversial anti-crime unit tasked with firearm busts – a policing shift the former chief of department admitted Wednesday was “probably a mistake.”
“Obviously, we all know after Geroge Floyd, [there were] a lot of reforms, a lot of changes in the police department,” said Terence Monahan, formerly the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer who retired from the department in March. “One of which was getting rid of the anti-crime unit in the beginning of the summer.”
“It was probably a mistake that we didn’t have a replacement in mind,” the cop-turned-senior adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a virtual event for the Association for a Better New York, a nonprofit business organization.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea dissolved the undercover unit last June following a “disproportionate” number of high-profile incidents that involved the plainclothes cops.
Former officer Daniel Pantaleo was assigned to the anti-crime unit when he placed Eric Garner into a chokehold on Staten Island – with the man’s last words, “I can’t breathe” becoming a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Shea said the “seismic” shift was “in the realm of closing on one of the last chapters on stop, question and frisk.”
Despite record gun busts in the fall, rampant gun violence has shown no sign of slowing after more than a year. That trend has also played out in major cities across the country.
“It’s something that every one of us in the police department were quite upset [about],” Monahan said about the more than 1,500 shootings recorded last year. “The numbers that we are at brings us not to the ’90s but to 2010.”
New York’s two leading Democratic mayoral hopefuls, Eric Adams and Andrew Yang, have each said they would bring back the controversial unit, at least in some form, to stem the surging gun violence, if elected.