Wagswoofs – According to recently published data, New York City police officers shot and killed 13 individuals in 2022, marking the highest number of fatalities caused by NYPD since 2012.
According to the department’s 2022 Use of Force Report, there was a nearly 30% increase in recorded incidents involving police force by cops compared to the previous year. This increase in police force incidents coincided with the fatal shootings of nine black men and four Latino men, as well as injuries from shootings to 15 other individuals.
According to the report, the number of arrests made by the police increased by 22% compared to the previous year. Additionally, the public sought their assistance almost 10% more often.
The NYPD did not provide a comment when contacted by THE CITY. However, experts outside the department suggested that the rise in homicides and use of force could be attributed to various factors. These include potentially more assertive police strategies, the impact of the pandemic, and the frequency and nature of interactions between law enforcement and the community.
According to Dennis Kenney, a renowned policing researcher and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, it is important to consider the potential influence of the coronavirus pandemic on crime rates and behavior in 2021. This suggests that the data for 2022 may be an anomaly, and a more accurate understanding of the situation will likely emerge with the data from 2023.
According to him, it is necessary to analyze other factors to determine if the increased use of force exceeded what the circumstances demanded.
According to one expert, if the police are facing a higher number of incidents involving weapons and violence, it is only logical that they themselves would also be affected by this increase. However, the real concern arises when the use of force by the police is on the rise, but crime rates and incidents remain the same. This implies a potential shift in police behavior.
According to the data, the number of incidents where police used force has increased from 6,440 in 2021 to 8,270 in 2022.
The figures revealed a rise of 19% in the number of police officers discharging their firearms, with the count escalating from 52 to 62. Additionally, there was a nearly 10% increase in the use of Tasers, with the number going up from 1,193 to 1,308.
In the year mentioned, tragic incidents occurred where police officers became victims of gunfire. Two officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, lost their lives while responding to a domestic disturbance call in a Harlem apartment. The suspect, Lashawn McNeil, who shot them, was also among the 13 individuals killed by the police during that year.
Just weeks into Mayor Eric Adams’ new administration and the tenure of then-police commissioner Keechant Sewell, a tragic incident unfolded. This marked the first instance since 2015 where multiple NYPD members lost their lives in a shooting.
The NYPD recently released an online report, without any prior announcement, highlighting a 22% increase in arrests in 2022 compared to the previous year. Additionally, there was a more than 10% rise in calls for service, resulting in an increased number of interactions between the police and the public.
Gun-related arrests saw a 6.8% surge, reaching a total of 4,660, compared to the previous year.
In 2022, there was a decrease of approximately 300 incidents of police force and nearly 25,000 fewer arrests compared to 2019, which was the last full year before the pandemic.
According to the report, police primarily use force in situations where crimes or violations are happening and require immediate action. This often leads to arrests and subsequent interactions with individuals experiencing emotional distress.
After a successful campaign for mayor, Adams, a former NYPD captain with 22 years of service, has made it clear that he intends to adopt a more proactive approach to policing.
Upon taking office as mayor, Eric Adams wasted no time in reviving the street unit called “anti-crime,” which had been dissolved in 2020 during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure due to concerns about its excessive force. Adams pledged to adopt a more measured and considerate approach to law enforcement.
In July 2022, Adams assured a graduating class of police academy that he would not abandon them in their battle against the criminal elements of the city.
“I will be your leader, leading from the front, as we reclaim our city and ensure that we continue progressing,” he confidently stated at the gathering. “We have a police commissioner who genuinely cares. We have a mayor who genuinely cares. We have an agency that genuinely cares. We understand our worth and you have become a part of our family, which is the key to transforming this city from one of chaos and disorder into a city governed by law and order.”
The City has recently reported on signs indicating a more stringent approach by the department. This includes a notable increase in criminal summonses for minor offenses compared to pre-pandemic figures. Additionally, there has been a significant rise in the number of vehicle pursuits starting in late 2020.
According to the NYPD, there was a 22% uptick in overall crime in 2022 compared to the previous year. However, there was a decline in both shootings and homicides during the same period.
There have been decreases in five out of the seven major crime categories so far in 2023. Homicides and shooting victims have seen double-digit drops compared to the previous year. However, the latest data reveals an increase in felony assaults and auto thefts.
However, the numbers show a concerning trend as almost all types of crime have seen a significant increase compared to last year, except for homicides, reported rapes, and shootings.
During the recent press conference, Adams and his team highlighted the administration’s accomplishments in the areas of crime and employment. However, Adams did not provide specific details regarding these achievements.
During a press conference at City Hall, Adams confidently declared, “There’s only one soundbite that can define this moment: Jobs are up, crime is down. That is what I ran on, promised, and committed. Jobs are up, crime is down.” Adams emphasized the success of his administration, highlighting the positive impact it has had on the city’s job market and crime rates.
Complaints Rose Too
According to the NYPD’s report, the rise in use of force incidents was accompanied by an increase in the number of complaints about police behavior filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
In 2022, there was a notable increase in complaints about police use of force, with the watchdog agency receiving a total of 1,679 filed complaints. This marks an 18% rise compared to the previous year.
Last year, the CCRB substantiated a significantly higher number of force allegations compared to 2021. In 2020, a total of 354 cases were substantiated, while only 127 cases were substantiated in the previous year.
The report highlighted that the increase in substantiations can be attributed, in part, to a backlog of investigations that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the closure of numerous complaints arising from the police brutality protests in the spring of 2020 contributed to this surge. These complaints had to be resolved within a two-year timeframe due to the statute of limitations.
According to the NYPD’s report on shooting deaths by police, out of the 13 men who were fatally shot, 11 of them were armed with guns. One man was found with two prop guns, while another had an imitation firearm.
The New York Attorney General’s office, responsible for investigating police-involved killings, has determined that its prosecutors would not be able to successfully argue in court that the shootings were unjustified. This decision was made in five cases where the individuals involved either pointed or fired a gun at law enforcement officers.
The investigations into the remaining eight cases are still pending.
On January 20, 2022, the NYPD received a report of a burglary in a Bronx apartment. In response, its officers promptly arrived at the scene.
Feliz’s family is disputing the NYPD’s rationale behind the shooting incident. A lawyer representing the family stated that they intend to demonstrate, through a lawsuit filed in The Bronx in January, that the police employed excessive force.
According to attorney Gerald Cohen of Cohen & Fitch LLP, there is evidence indicating that the police shot and fatally wounded Mr. Feliz, even though he no longer posed a threat to the officers or anyone else.