An NYPD union upset that the city is “in decline” and that residents are recording their interactions with police has asked its members and their families and friends to post photographs of homeless people on Flickr, several of which are accompanied by mocking and disparaging captions. The Sergeants Benevolent Association is led by Ed Mullins, who told the New York Post that mayor Bill de Blasio’s “failed policies” have created “homeless encampments on city streets” and “10 percent increase in homicides.”
Noting that more cops are being recorded on the job, Mullins wrote, “Shouldn’t accountability go both ways?”
(Mullins and other officials say the people they’re holding accountable with the photos are city officials, not the homeless individuals themselves.)
Homicides are in fact up 10 percent so far in 2015 versus 2014’s numbers, officials have said, though the city is also on pace for its lowest number of overall felony crimes in two decades. There doesn’t appear to be statistical evidence that homelessness has increased drastically, the New York Times reports, but opinion polls indicate that a majority of residents believe the mayor—who recently announced “a $22 million mental health initiative that his administration says will aid the homeless”—is handling the issue poorly.
The SBA has compiled the photos on a Flickr page titled “Peek-A-Boo”(!). One photo is ironically labeled “bed and breakfast,” several refer to homeless people as “bums,” and one is labeled “disgusting.” Here’s one taken by someone who apparently leaned way over to get right in an unconscious man’s face.