The Legal Aid Society decried a recently issued New York City Police Department (NYPD) memo directing officers to target New Yorkers for arrest and incarceration over water splashing.
For this conduct, the memo contends that officers have the legal right to charge individuals with Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree, Criminal Tampering in the Third Degree, Harassment in the Second Degree, and Disorderly Conduct.
“The disproportionate response from the NYPD to these incidents of young people splashing water on officers compared to officers committing violent misconduct, also often on tape, demonstrates the Department’s failure to see its own hypocrisy,” said Anne Oredeko, Supervising Attorney of the Racial Justice Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “Young people are getting arrested for splashing water on 100 degree days while officers who have killed and seriously injured people continue working, collect pensions, and barely get a slap on the wrist. Historically, black and Latinx communities have suffered the brunt of police abuse, harassment, and violence. The Department should focus on addressing those root issues before attempting to criminalize playing with water.”