Isaac Scher


Thirsty New Yorkers have taken to the streets to enjoy their drinks since March 16, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo first signed an executive order allowing New Yorkers to take cocktails to-go, and one day after New York City shuttered its bars in response to a then-growing coronavirus epidemic. 

In Brooklyn and throughout the five boroughs, however, the New York Police Department is meting out open-container summonses to Black denizens at disproportionately high rates, a Bushwick Daily analysis of NYC data shows. This is despite Cuomo’s decrees, which have been renewed each month since March and will finally expire after July 31. 

In Kings County, which is 33.8% Black, nearly 59% of all 192 citations since March 16 have gone to Black residents. 

Though the borough is 36.8% white, just 7.8% of the citations have gone to white ones. 

The white Hispanic citation rate stands at 25%, and the Black Hispanic rate is 7.8%. Just one Asian/Pacific Islander has been cited, and a single citation was given to an individual whose race was referred to as “Other.” 

The NYPD’s racist policing practices are not new, and since the epidemic began, the NYPD has disproportionately policed Black denizens for more than just drinking in public. 

As I reported for Business Insider in May, the police are disproportionately arresting Black residents for violating social-distancing rules in Brooklyn and Queens

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams slammed the NYPD for its systematic targeting of Black residents. 

“At the same time that the city is rightly prohibiting people from consuming alcohol inside, it is penalizing them for doing so outside – primarily in communities of more color,” he said in a statement Thursday. “Even as the total number of enforcement actions have fallen, the disproportionate targeting of people of more color continues. Again and again, from marijuana offenses, to social distancing, to stop, question, and frisk, we see that these disparities have continued to afflict Black and brown New Yorkers through over-policing.”

“The department continues to assert, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that it always enforces laws fairly and equally. In far too many instances, this is not the case, and these disingenuous denials do further damage,” Williams added. 

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Cover image: Police behind tape on Wilson and Star. Alonzo Maciel for Bushwick Daily.