Last month, the NYPD launched Operation Zero Tolerance, an initiative to crack down on “non-consensual sexual activity.” The move came after several undercover NYPD officers reported the assaults.
Operation Zero Tolerance targeted certain groups of vulnerable New Yorkers who face a higher risk of sexual assault, such as homeless men, transgender men, and transgender women, many of whom are from minority groups or LGBT communities. Officers would target groups in the middle of the night and ask them to leave or to turn their phones on silent mode. When their phones do not work, they would have to delete all the evidence. They also keep photos and videos of the subjects.
This week, city officials declared racism a public health crisis in New York City. City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett announced the plan during a press conference at the Four Freedoms Park, a section of the formerly blighted Bronx waterfront with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. The event was held to draw attention to the city’s public health crisis of homelessness. Dr. Bassett has been taking measures to address the ongoing epidemic in her last two city health commissioners. In January 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio deployed the NYPD’s cold-weather Hygiene Riot Team (HRT) to clean up homeless encampments around New York City.
Last week, in an effort to address racism, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formed a task force to “replace the words ‘reasonable limits’ and ‘compelling public safety reason’ with ‘why’ on property-use applications and related documents,” according to officials. The task force was established after thousands of communities signed a petition calling for a state investigation into how the NYPD has used these ambiguous language that were supposed to protect victims of discrimination.