State Attorney General Letitia James says cops should quit automatically arresting drivers they’ve stopped for traffic violations simply because they discover the perp has an open warrant. Huh?
James’ new report notes that she won’t file charges against an NYPD sergeant over a shooting death that followed from one such stop. In that case, Bronx driver Allan Feliz handed over his brother’s license when pulled over for failing to wear a seatbelt.
Oops: His brother had three open warrants for minor violations, so cops asked Feliz out of his car. When he realized he might face arrest, he got back in and attempted to flee. Fearing for the safety of his partner, the sergeant shot and killed Feliz.
James argues that traffic stops for minor infractions often end in violence, and Feliz’s death “further underscores the need for” ending the automatic arrest policy.
Sorry: Trying to avoid arrest — by resisting or fleeing — is the real mistake that brings the “escalation” James wants to avoid. Her idea — requiring officers to get permission from a supervisor before they proceed with basic law enforcement — is tantamount to telling cops not to do their jobs.
Routine traffic stops have enabled the NYPD to take illegal firearms off the streets more than any other police activity. Those stops and warrant enforcement lead to the seizing of illegal guns like the ones used to maim or to take the lives of James’ Brooklyn neighbors and constituents.
To suggest that police are at fault for the consequences of resisting arrest is to justify the perps who resist. It’s a shameful idea for New York’s top law-enforcement officer to embrace.