THE BLOG
10/06/2014 03:55 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2014

Does Policing Summons Warrants Really Prevent Serious Crime?

After being arrested on a 2005 summons warrant, the NYPD let the air out of this cyclist's bike tires.

I met Victor outside a bike shop on Fulton Street in Brooklyn on a Wednesday afternoon. NYPD officers had let the air out of his bike tire two nights ago, after taking him into custody on a 2005 summons warrant for playing music in his car too loudly.

As Victor tells it, he was riding home a few blocks from his house in Crown Heights when officers walking nearby grabbed his bicycle by the handle bars as he rode past. He was drinking an Arizona ice tea and their initial question was, "What's in the can?" After ascertaining that Victor was drinking ice tea, the officers flipped the script and said they actually had stopped him because he ran a red light. It was 3 a.m., on a dark quiet street.

The officers ran Victor's name for warrants, using the pretext of the red light infraction, and discovered that he had not paid a summons from 2005, when he was ticketed for the loud music. Finally, the NYPD had something they legally could use to make an arrest. And Victor was taken through Central Bookings, spent a day in jail, and was released about 30 hours after his initial encounter with the police with a sentence of time-served. For good measure, when Victor went to reclaim his property, the arresting officers had apparently let the air out of his bike tire, just to make it a little more difficult for him to get home.

I just can't believe that this made anyone safer. Here is Victor telling his story: