NYPD precinct commander rousts goods-supplying truckers during Chinese coronavirus pandemic

Both President Trump and VP Pence have commended the nation’s truckers for keeping America’s store shelves stocked during this crisis.

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I just finished listening to another Chinese coronavirus press conference from President Donald Trump and his coronavirus response team. Vice President Mike Pence was speaking and mentioned that McDonald’s was creating a service where employees will deliver meals curbside to truck drivers whose rigs cannot fit through drive-up lanes.

Both President Trump and VP Pence have commended the nation’s truckers for keeping America’s store shelves stocked during this crisis.

I guess the word of this heroism hasn’t trickled down to one NYPD precinct commander in Brooklyn. In a piece posted on his Advocacy for LEOs blog, retired NYPD Detective David Chianese wrote about one of the most tone-deaf operations I’ve ever heard of involving a police department. Especially during a national emergency.

Several truckers were sleeping in their 18-wheelers, which were parked in a mixed-use neighborhood in Brooklyn. Deputy Inspector James King, commander of the NYPD 66th Precinct, wrangled some officers for “a daring mission,” so they could, as Chianese puts it, “unleash their fury upon unsuspecting truckers…”

As everyone knows —well, everyone except for Deputy Inspector King— truckers have been working valiantly, diligently driving more miles than normal, putting more time on the road than ever. They understand their responsibility to deliver just about every necessity Americans need to survive and even thrive during this crisis.

Just look around your house. Nearly every single item you see was, at some point, delivered on a truck. Even if it traveled by plane, train, or ship, it spent time on a truck.

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Instead, DI King ordered officers (oh, man, I would not have wanted to be one of those guys. I bet they weren’t thrilled about it. I’ve worked for commanders like that) to awaken the truckers, cite them for illegal parking, and have their rigs impounded. He even bragged about it in a tweet: “Our traffic safety officer was out on Bay pkwy towing these illegally parked trailers. Please remember commercial vehicles cannot be parked on residential blocks.” Pedant!

A pre-dawn raid during a national emergency affecting every single person living in the United States? Blue Lives Matter goes into some political reasons for DI King’s actions in that particular neighborhood, but they matter little to our point.

BLM reported an NYPD official told them, “This is a situation where the precinct commander didn’t have the balls to tell the community leaders that they’re being ridiculous.” The official added not understanding the commander sending cops to interrupt these truckers’ sleep, delay their deliveries, and “exposing all of the officers and the truckers to each other for no reason. It’s just inexcusable.”

Glad to see level heads remain the rule in the NYPD. But there are always “leaders” who slip through the cracks. I don’t know this commander’s history, but as I saw in my department, often folks who act like this, who’ve achieved high rank, have benefited from the “screw up; move up” syndrome. I’m not saying that happened, I’m just sayin’…

meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer and on the East Precinct Community Police Team. He's the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State." He's also a contributor to the National Police Association.

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