It’s been about seven months since the now-infamous south Brooklyn sex attacks began, and the NYPD still hasn’t been able to finger a suspect. The police have ramped up their response after 11 crimes, but not without problems; women in the neighborhoods affected have begun to accuse police of handling this in a less than sensitive manner. Now, a petition demanding “sensitivity training” for cops has been launched. As of right now it has about 3,000 signatures and it will be presented to NYPD representatives in a meeting tonight.
The petition was started in response to community group Safe Slope’s open letter to cops. The letter identified issues the group has identified with the NYPD’s response including commenting on women’s clothing and escorting them home without identifying themselves:
However, we are deeply concerned with some of the NYPD’s responses–both before and after the increased police presence that began the week of September 18th. We have compiled examples we have seen with our own eyes and ones that have been reported to us by community members. We are writing so that we may highlight practices by officers that we believe may continue to harm women in our community. We are not bringing these to your attention as mere criticism. We are concerned about the impact of such actions and it is our hope that we can provide realistic solutions to truly make our community safer.
The petition, which Hollaback! executive director Emily May says was put together by an “ad hoc coalition” of concerned people from different groups including Safe Slope, demands the following:
– Immediately order sensitivity training for all officers assigned to work on the Park Slope case, to be completed by October 15th
– Ensure officers provide information about sexual assaults and prevention in Spanish and other languages reflective of community needs
– Ensure information on sexual assault be provided to individuals who are not female-bodied people
– Insist NYPD officers identify themselves and inform people who are being followed home
May told us that 39th District Councilman Brad Lander set up a meeting between Hollaback! and Safe Slope and reps from the 72nd and 78th precincts. It’s tonight at 8:30.
According to May, the petitioners suspect that the issues with the police response might come from the top. “It’s so consistent that it leads us to believe there’s some sort of directive that’s been given for the police to do this,” she said. In reference to the women who claimed that officers told them not to wear skirts, she said “we don’t know — is that a singular police officer or is that a top-down directive from the NYPD?”
In other Slope rapist news, a woman in Windsor Terrace says that cops didn’t take her seriously when she reported being groped while entering her building.