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Astoria Lawmaker Bashes Return of Plainclothes NYPD Officers, Says Units Targeted Minorities in the Past

Council Member Tiffany Cabán took to Twitter Monday to denounce the impending deployment of plainclothes units in the 114th Precinct (Photo: Instagram @cabanforqueens)

Feb. 8, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

The NYPD 114th precinct in Astoria is about to see a return of the plainclothes police team—but a local council member is opposed to these units saying they are ineffective and unfairly target minorities.

The precinct is one of 30 across New York City where plain-clothes units will soon be deployed as part of the mayor’s plan to crack down on illegal guns and major crimes. The 30 precincts are where 80 percent of the city’s violent crimes are reported, according to Mayor Eric Adams.

The plainclothes units — which were disbanded in 2020 by former Mayor Bill de Blasio—are expected to be back on the streets later this month with a focus on gun violence. Adams is deploying the teams amid surging crime rates across the five boroughs.

In the 114th precinct alone, there were 10 murders in 2021 compared to seven in 2020 and two in 2019, according to NYPD data.

Council Member Tiffany Cabán took to Twitter Monday to denounce the impending deployment of plainclothes units — saying they did not work in the past in reducing crime and that the unit tormented minorities using stop-and-frisk tactics.

“It’s time to abandon the failed strategies of the past,” Cabán said in a statement posted to Twitter Monday.

“Roughing black and brown kids up, throwing them against walls or into the streets, surveilling and harassing our Muslin neighbors, making low level arrests to feed the pipeline of mass incarceration and cycles of criminalization and trauma – these [policies] didn’t make us safe before, and they never will.”

114th Precinct boundaries (Astoria and Roosevelt Island)

Cabán represents District 22, much of which falls under the 114th Precinct. The precinct also includes the Astoria, Woodside, Ravenswood and Queensbridge Houses – NYCHA complexes where there have been several shootings in the past two years.

The progressive lawmaker, who ran for office on a “defund the police” platform, said that the 114th Precinct has historically had one of the highest stop-and-frisk rates in the city, citing NYPD data. The 114th Precinct had 242 incidents in 2019, which was the greatest number of stops of any of the 16 precincts in Queens that year.

The units, Cabán said—citing a 2018 study by The Intercept—were responsible for nearly one-third of all fatal shootings involving police from 2000 to the time of the study, despite making up around 5 percent of the entire police force.

“We have to get serious about achieving the public safety outcomes we all want, need and deserve,” Cabán wrote in the statement.

Unlike the disbanded units, the plainclothes teams will be equipped with body cameras and will wear something identifying them as police, Adams said last month. The officers, however, will not wear uniforms and will travel in unmarked vehicles.

The 114th Precinct in Astoria (Photo: Queens Post)

Nevertheless, instead of plainclothes units, Cabán said a better strategy would be to invest in the city’s “Crisis Management System,” as a means of reducing violence in the community. The system consists of a network of nonprofits that mediate conflicts in local neighborhoods before they turn violent.

Cabán cited a citywide study which found that the system helped reduce shootings by up to 40 percent in areas where it was implemented between 2010 and 2019.

“This approach is viable, it’s proven, and it’s waiting to be scaled up,” Cabán wrote. “All it needs is deeper investment from City Hall.”

Cabán ended her statement by encouraging her constituents to get trained in de-escalation tactics and to familiarize themselves with their rights should they be stopped by police. She urged residents to reach out to her office or The Legal Aid Society if they feel their rights have been violated.

“We are here for you, we are here with you,” Cabán wrote.

“We know that a safer, healthier city is possible. We will never stop fighting for that city.

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15 Comments

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Jefferson's Ghost

Not mentioned here is that the destruction promulgated by the Left is intentional. Caban is simply one of the many useful idiots involved the the furtherance of a much larger goal. Anyhow, she will win reelection by a landslide for the rest of her life so perhaps the true villains are NYC voters. They deserve everything they get.

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Hangry

The gang-infested area of the precinct that needs the patrol (Queensbridge-Ravenswood) is not even in her district. Radical progressives preach their “Defund” mantra from the safety of the nice part of the precinct. Wealthy, young transplants with limited life experience and no deep knowledge of NYC are deciding what residents of the projects want.

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Clay

How about targeting bad actors. If they happen to be largely
Minorities that isn’t the cops fault. Let’s stop denying from whence the bulk of crime emanates.

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Ian MacCormack.

Soaring crime rates are a result of the George Soros funded “defund the police” mobs and prosecutors. The majority of those protestors and rioters don’t live in the neighborhoods affected the worst.

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Sara Ross

Doesn’t she watch the news, read a paper or online newspaper and see that crimes are committed every minute of every day, every week of every month? Guess who are the ones assaulting, killing, shooting, knifing robbing, breaking into stores (from luxury to bodegas), knocking people down and then running away like girls? If you defund the police and need them, I guess you’ll call somebody from the city council to take care of the big, bad guy huh?

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WTF

I would just suggest that she walk those streets at night with her social workers and see how safe they keep her. Properly managed plain clothes police unit is effective and guess what – it protects us people of color.

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Pat Hanrahan

So should she have an incident with an intruder or a mentally ill person on the street, this representative should not 911 as she stands for defunding NYPD–“Sorry there are no NYPD officers available to take your call. Please call a community organizing team for assistance.” Is this what we do–with the proliferation of violence on our streets, hate crimes against Asian-Americans, random acts of violence on the subway, can’t we give the new Mayor and NYPD an opportunity to take an active approach and get it right this time. It seems that criminals are shooting and stealing randomly in our city–they don’t care–and new and revised methods are needed at this critical time. If these community organizing groups, comprised of “credible individuals”–you mean ex-cons–that’s okay–everyone deserves a second chance–just be straightforward–are so effective at providing remedies and services to the homeless and to criminals–jobs, housing, shelters, why are their numbers increasing every year–

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Sick of this one…

This woman is in lala land. What we need is stop and frisk to come back. I’d love to see her hang around Steinway street after dark and feel “safe”. Let’s see what she would do when a gun or knife if being exposed around her. She cares so much about the minorities and what cops may do to them but what about the rest of the community? Do you not like keeping the community safe? We are moving backwards. You are too blind and daft to see that. Too much crime is going on a lot of gun violence and knife wielding events. Look at the gang activity too. Take a closer look Caban, this new approach is a failed strategy. Crime is way up there and you just want it to unfold naturally by doing nothing….

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Chisenga

The plainclothes units are needed as the recent uptick in crime shows.

Granted, they will have to improve their interaction with the minority communities as the Police needs the public’s support to be effective.

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Anonymous

SMH…all levels of crime are up in our neighborhood and she believes talking through a policy of understanding the criminals plight is the answer. Any one ever read her de-carceration plan??? Sit down in mediation from the person that assaulted and robbed you so that a mutual respect and understanding can be attained. She’s nuts and needs to look around the neighborhood she carpet bagged with eyes wide open to see how crappy, dirty, and dangerous things have become. Mugging and shootings go unreported. Whatever numbers are posted are doctored and the true crime rate is higher then what’s on paper. Stop this insanity…I didn’t vote for this crazy liberal.

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Prab

I am minority in this country and I want anti gun unit, safe shooting-free streets. I am sick of you criminal lovers. I will never vote for you!

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Bill

Tiffany Caban, you are totally out of touch with both reality and your constituents. It is the so-called progressive agenda with its “Defund the Police” theme (which you heartily endorse) that has led to the rise in crime right here in your district. Along with “progressive” DAs who say they will reduce burglary to a misdemeanor, the present far left agenda is out of touch with what is happening in society. Tiffany Caban, wake up, look around with open eyes and listen to those who you represent!

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Pat Macnamara

Caban prefers a lawless society-with cash-free bail, slap on the wrist sentences for crimes, and more federally funded programs to prop up some failed vision. Keep voting progressive Democrat-you might get robbed, but it’s so worth it to stay woke and inclusive!

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