2020 was a year that nobody should forget. The unjust deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd prompted a nationwide reckoning, leading to nearly a week of uninterrupted, peaceful, nightly marches throughout Bay Ridge. In no uncertain terms, our neighborhood declared that Black Lives Matter. However, police response to the citywide protests resulted in brutal crackdowns and violations of civil rights.

As Blue Lives Matter protests began organizing, Bay Ridge saw it’s first taste of violence as multiple counter-protestors were assaulted in Dyker Heights and taken away to receive medical attention. The marches were led by Nicole Malliotakis, and other GOP functionaries. By July 13th, a large Blue Lives Matter rally led by former State Senator Marty Golden clashed with counter-protestors beside the Gowanus Expressway. Both sides engaged in violence.

However, the police mobilized on the scene all faced a single direction: toward the counter-protestors, with their back to the Blue Lives Matter demonstrators. Radio Free Bay Ridge was on the scene, and witnessed alt-right agitators assault BLM protestors while then being able to retreat back through police lines, with no repercussions from the police assigned to protect both groups. It was shameful. We deserve to understand why our police behave in this way, both across the city and right here in Bay Ridge.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk to a former NYPD cop and local activist, Mike DeCillis.

Mike has a long history in law enforcement, mental health, and education… and he has been outspoken in his criticism of the NYPD and insightful into how it can be meaningfully reformed. We’ll dig into the structure of the agency and how we can overhaul its culture, institute training reforms, and correct problems with NYPD leadership (both internal and within its unions).

A banner image showing NYPD Officers blockading a street in Bay Ridge during a Back the Blue Rally
Police restricting access to 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge during the July 13th Back the Blue Rally | Photo by Daniel Hetteix

Audio Bookmarks

Show Notes

Congressional Contenders Series

At the top of the show, Mike mentioned that he previously ran for NY11 (our Congress seat, recently held by Max Rose and currently occupied by Nicole Malliotakis.) You can listen to our complete interview with Mike from 2018 on the episodes show-notes page.

Further Reading…

  • We discuss the need for improved psychological check-ins for officers and to better track the temperament of officers. You can read more about the kinds of wellness services offered to NYPD officers, and how the culture makes those services less likely to be accepted, in this report by the Department of the Inspector General.

This episode was recorded on December 15th, 2020 in our digital studios located in beautiful Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. All editing and mastering was done by our producer, Daniel Hetteix.

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