Black residents are expressing concerns about racial double standards in the New York Police Department's social distancing enforcement efforts.

According to The New York Times, 35 of the 40 Brooklyn residents who were arrested for social distancing violations between March 17 and May 4 were Black. Four Hispanic people were also arrested during that time, and one arrested individual was white. 


While a third of the arrests were made in the mostly Black neighborhood of Brownsville, there were no arrests in the predominantly white Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, The Times reported. Black people make up 34% of the overall Brooklyn population according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Given the disproportionate racial makeup of the arrests, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office is refusing to prosecute the cases according to Spectrum News NY1. 

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, said New York's policing tactics resemble the practices of stop-and-frisk.

“We can’t unleash a new era of overly aggressive policing of communities of color in the name of social distancing,” Jeffries said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the social distancing guidelines don't compare with stop-and-frisk.

“What happened with stop-and-frisk was a systematic, oppressive, unconstitutional strategy that created a new problem much bigger than anything it purported to solve,” the mayor said at a news press conference on Thursday. “This is the farthest thing from that. This is addressing a pandemic. This is addressing the fact that lives are in danger all the time. By definition, our police department needs to be a part of that because safety is what they do.”

The mayor also went to Twitter to add to his thoughts.

"Saving lives in this pandemic is job one," he tweeted. "The NYPD uses summonses and arrests to do it. Most people practice social distancing, with only hundreds of summonses issued over 6 weeks. But the disparity in the numbers does NOT reflect our values. We HAVE TO do better and we WILL."