How NYPD ‘Kettled’ the Spirit of Reform

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

On June 4, 2020, a few hundred people gathered in the South Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven to protest the murder of George Floyd. They were met with overwhelming force -- in an event that has come to represent NYPD’s steadfast refusal to accept public scrutiny. WNYC’s Race and Justice Unit has been reconstructing what happened that night, from the vantage point of two dozen protestors who were present. Editor Jami Floyd tells the story her team found.

Jami also introduces us to an active-duty officer who says racism is hard-wired into NYPD’s culture. He’s part of a group of Black and Latinx officers who have sued the department, and he charges he’s been met with extreme retaliation.

Finally, The Greene Space will be hosting a Town Hall on the One Year Anniversary of the Mott Haven Protest on Friday, June 4th, 2021. You can find more information here.

Special thanks to WNYC/ Gothamist reporters Gwynne Hogan and Jake Offenhartz for on-the-scene recordings from last summer’s protests.

Companion listening for this episode:

Why Cops Don’t Change (Apr 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 Secret Tapes of a Suburban Drug War (Mar 1, 2021)

A cop in Westchester, NY, was disturbed by what he saw as corruption. He started recording his colleagues -- and revealed how we’re all still living with the excess of the war on drugs.

“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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