Less than four months after officers started cracking down on jaywalkers in New York City, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is telling officers to use more discretion when stopping people who cross the street illegally, according to law enforcement sources.
The memo, first obtained by the Daily News and confirmed by NBC 4 New York, tells officers to “use discretion when issuing a summons,” and asks that elderly and special-needs jaywalkers be warned instead of ticketed if there is no safety risk. The memo also tells officers to only make arrests as a last resort.
Jaywalking summonses have exploded this year as the city tries to lower the number of traffic deaths. Already, more than 900 people have been ticketed for the offense, compared with 532 in 2012, according to the Daily News.
One of those collared, 84-year-old Kang Wong, is suing the NYPD and the city for $5 million for the way his arrest was handled. Wong alleges that officers pushed him against the wall, beat him and threw him to the ground after he crossed an Upper West Side street Jan. 19. Wong said he lost consciousness and was hospitalized after the arrest.
Earlier this month, prosecutors opted not to prosecute Wong’s case.