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NYPD Slows Down Law Enforcement, Increases Citizen Complaints

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As an autonomous collective, let's try (together!) to do a little NYPD math.Here's the beginning of the word problem:How many cops does it take to choke someone to death?One.Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo choked Eric Garner to death while "effecting an arrest." The presumed crime was unlicensed cigarette sales, but no one really knows for sure why Pantaleo decided to escalate the situation by using a forbidden tactic to subdue the non-resistant Garner. And we'll never know anything else about it because Officer Pantaleo has dodged everything but a firing over his decision to perform an illegal chokehold in the course of detaining Eric Garner to death.Rather than rally against this illegal use of force, the NYPD union -- headed by awful human being Pat Lynch -- has decided to demonize everyone who isn't a Police Benevolent Association (PBA) member. Citizens who are still alive in the Big Apple don't know how well they have it, being presided over by a bunch of bad apples who labor under the scrutiny of a powerless populace.

"We are urging all New York City police officers to proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed 'reckless' just for doing their job," Patrick Lynch, the longtime president of the Police Benevolent Association, said Monday after veteran Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired."We will uphold our oath, but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety," he added.
The NYPD continues to come under fire water. Minor summertime humiliations, coupled with the firing of a bad cop has prompted the NYPD's union head to call for a work slowdown.Another union joined the PBA in its stupidity. Invoking the nonexistent "Ferguson Effect," the Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted "PANTALEO EFFECT" because pressing the CAPS LOCK key makes everything true. The threat of cops not doing their jobs doubled as both unions presented a unified front of "not earning paychecks."Would there be a slowdown? The police commissioner said "no." Because no police commissioner is ever going to say "yes," even if there is a perceivable slowdown.
[Commissioner James] O’Neill said cops are still plugging away.“It bothers me, but NYPD cops are the best in the country,” O’Neill told ABC 7 on Sunday. “They are going to keep this city safe and they have to, no matter what happens… They are not going to stop doing what they do."
O'Neill has confidence in officers represented by two unions declaring zero confidence. He says his officers are professionals. The stats say otherwise.
Arrests dropped 27% between Aug. 19 — the day Pantaleo was fired — and Aug. 25 compared to the same period in 2018, with police making 3,508 busts compared to 4,827.The number of criminal summonses issued fell nearly 29% over the same period, going from 1,655 to 1,181, the figures show.
There was no "organized" slowdown… according to NYPD officers. I can believe that. I can also believe dozens of like-minded cops decided to stop working as hard enforcing the law because they've decided to see themselves as victims when one of their own actually gets punished for killing someone. Departments that have managed to turn public opinion against them seem to be filled with officers that think the real problem here is a lack of grateful citizens.Everyone on the record says nothing has changed. The unions agitating for a slowdown are contradicted (but not very believably) by NYPD officers saying they're still as dedicated to the job as ever.The numbers don't back up the official statements. NYPD officers are doing less than ever, according to the arrest records cited above. But the strangest thing has happened. First, crime has not increased.Second, the downturn in enforcement has somehow resulted in an increase in complaints against the police.
Complaints against New York City police officers spiked in 2019, rising nearly 20 percent from last year — and new statistics released by the city suggest that cops and civilians cooperating to resolve those cases are having more trouble doing so.The number of total complaints filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board — which handles allegations of discourtesy, offensive language, excessive use of force and abuse of authority by uniformed police officers — rose by nearly 1,000 in fiscal year 2019, from 4,392 complaints last year to 5,236 this year, according to statistics released Tuesday in the annual Mayor’s Management Report.
Do less. Screw up more."Doing more with less" is an admirable goal. Unfortunately, coupling fewer enforcement efforts with a higher complaint rate suggests the NYPD is doing less stuff right and more stuff wrong. I understand cops may feel like people are out to get them after they kill a citizen, but actual professionals would would act professionally.Residents don't want to be paying for increased violations of rights, but that's what the NYPD is providing instead of protection and service. New York's Finest are barely New York's Adequate, if this is how officers are getting work done these days. Any time accountability rears its ugly head, police unions -- and the officers they represent -- are there to punish the public for demanding these professionals act like professionals.

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It's Time For The Academic World To See The Positive Side Of Negative Results

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Techdirt has written many times about the need to move from traditional academic publishing to open access. There are many benefits, including increasing the reach and impact of research, and allowing members of the public to read work that they have often funded, without needing to pay again. But open access is not a panacea; it does not solve all the problems of today's approach to spreading knowledge. In particular, it suffers from the same serious flaw that afflicts traditional titles: a tendency to focus on success, and to draw a veil of silence over failure. As a new column in Nature puts it:

Scientists have become so accustomed to celebrating only success that we've forgotten that most technological advances stem from failure. We all want to see our work saving lives or solving world hunger, and I think the collective bias towards finding positive results in the face of failure is a dangerous motivation.
That's true, though hardly a new insight. People have been pointing it out for years. But the fact that it still needs to be said shows how little progress has been made in this regard. For example, back in 2015, Stephen Curry, a professor of structural biology at London's Imperial College, wrote a column in the Guardian entitled "On the importance of being negative", which explains why negative results matter:
Their value lies in mapping out blind alleys, warning other investigators not to waste their time or at least to tread carefully. The only trouble is, it can be hard to get them published.
Curry noted that Elsevier was aiming to address that problem with the launch of the catchily-named journal "New Negatives in Plant Science", which was "a platform for negative, unexpected or controversial results". Unfortunately, looking at the journal's Web page today, we read: "The Publisher has decided to discontinue the journal New Negatives in Plant Science." Maybe papers about negative results were simply a bit, well, negative for many people. Undaunted, Cambridge University Press (CUP) is launching its own title in this space:
Experimental Results will offer a place where researchers can publish standalone experimental results "regardless of whether those results are novel, inconclusive, negative or supplementary to other published work." The journal will also publish the outcome of attempts to reproduce previously published experiments, including those that dispute past findings.Some journals publish full-paper negative or inconclusive results, but published stand-alone results are a rarity, said CUP.
That's a welcome move, because the academic world effectively discards huge quantities of knowledge, often hard-won, about things that don't work, don't reproduce the results of others, or are simply unclear. Those may be messy and less glamorous than the big successes that hit the headlines and win prizes, but they are valuable nonetheless.It's instructive to compare the world of academic publishing with what happens in Silicon Valley. There, failure is celebrated as proof that entrepreneurs have been willing to try new things, and acknowledged as a valuable learning experience. It's added to CVs with pride, not glossed over like some shameful secret. It's time to bring some of that enthusiastic willingness to take risks to the rigorous but rather timid world of academia. -- and to reward it accordingly.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

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