David Dinkins vs. the NYPD

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How NYC’s first Black mayor tried to balance concerns about public safety with demands for a more accountable police force -- and the violent resistance he faced from the police union.

Under the Dinkins administration, the crime rate declined, but his complex relationship with the New York Police Department - which grew in size under his tenure - often overshadows his legacy. As voting is underway for the 2021 mayoral race, our senior editor Christopher Werth tells the story of Dinkins’s attempt to balance crime fighting and racial justice, and of a police union reaction that looked a lot like the January 6th attack on the U.S. capital.

Also, activist Erica Ford, who is the CEO and Founder of LIFE Camp, Inc., joins to talk about community-based solutions to public safety and expectations of our elected officials. What will it take for New Yorkers to feel safe?

Companion listening for this episode:

How NYPD ‘Kettled’ the Spirit of Reform (5/24/2021)

New Yorkers reacted to George Floyd’s murder with mass protests demanding police accountability. NYPD met them with targeted violence and abuse.

Why Cops Don’t Change (4/19/2021)

A retired NYPD detective says the force’s stubborn, insular culture was built to last. And Elie Mystal explains a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that made killing “reasonable.”

“The United States of Anxiety” airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC.

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