Brooklyn, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) officers conducted a raid Monday morning on a group of long-haul truckers who were sleeping in their cabs on a residential street in the 66th Precinct.
NYPD Deputy Inspector James King, the commanding officer of the 66th Precinct, tweeted about the operation right after it happened, but has since deleted the post in which he bragged about having illegally parked tractor trailers towed in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic emergency.
The tweet was captured by retired NYPD Detective David Chianese and published on his Advocacy for LEOs blog on Tuesday.
“Our traffic safety officer was out on Bay pkwy towing these illegally parked trailers,” the NYPD 66th Precinct tweeted on Monday morning. “Please remember commercial vehicles cannot be parked on residential blocks.”
The incident occurred just before dawn on March 23 when a number of over-the-road truck drivers were sleeping in the cabs of their trucks on a mixed use street in Brooklyn, according to the Advocacy for LEOs blog.
Officers from the 66th Precinct and the NYPD Traffic Enforcement Division descended on the block to wake up the out-of-state truck drivers, most of whom were catching a nap while they waited for their trailers to be reloaded for another trip, Advocacy for LEOs reported.
On Monday, instead of waking up and returning to pick up their goods to haul, the truckers were forced to deal with the impound lot to retrieve the trucks, leaving much needed supplies on pallets inside parked trailers.
NYPD sources told Blue Lives Matter that what happened in the 66th Precinct was “utterly disgusting” and mirrored the rest of the behavior that has been going on in the prominently Jewish Hillside community ever since the emergency shutdowns were announced.
On source said that NYPD went after the truckers because Jewish leaders in the area complained that the trucks were blocking their parking.
The largely Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities in Brooklyn have continued to hold large gatherings such as weddings despite orders to stay at home and observe social distancing when in public amidst the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Post reported.
The NYPD source explained to Blue Lives Matter that the Orthodox and Hasidic communities are a politically powerful voting bloc in that area and elected officials usually try hard not to raise their ire.
“It’s awful. If there’s any disagreement between the Hasidic community and NYPD officers, the city almost exclusively sides with the Jewish community there,” the source complained. “It doesn’t matter how right the police officer is. A lot of the laws get flouted and a blind eye is turned because that community votes as a block and what they say goes with the mayor.”
He said the raid on the sleeping truck drivers never should have happened during the state of emergency.
“This is a situation where the precinct commander didn’t have the balls to tell the community leaders that they’re being ridiculous,” the NYPD official told Blue Lives Matter. “Why would he send officers to mess with these truckers who need to deliver supplies, effectively exposing all of the officers and the truckers to each other for no reason? It’s just inexcusable.”
Truck drivers across the United States have been working furiously to deliver supplies across the nation to refill the shelves stripped by panicked shoppers going into self quarantine as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country.
Many rest stops are closed along highways, and that’s where most of the truckers do their overnight stays on long hauls, according to KRNV.
There have been numerous reports of police departments across the country helping out the truckers by running their orders through restaurant drive-thrus because the trucks are usually too big to fit.
In Eufaula, Alabama, the police department announced they wanted to help the hungry truck drivers, AL.com reported.
“To that end, if you are a truck driver, and need to take time off the road in Eufaula, we will assist you in getting food,” the Eufaula Police Department posted on their official Facebook page. “With more and more restaurants limiting their dining room access, it is becoming harder for our truck driving friends to find places to eat. We will either go get something for you, or give you a ride to the nearest drive through (if you don’t mind riding in the back seat).”
“If manpower is such that we cannot assist, we will secure someone that can,” the police department promised.
In Nevada, residents have been delivering warm meals to the drivers stuck in their rigs, KRNV reported.
“We are working non-stop, but it’s to make sure people get what they need,” Ronda Aucoin, a truck driver from Kentucky, said. “Nevadans have been especially nice, since a few places are closed and not allowing us to stay the night when we’re done working.”
Neither NYPD nor New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office responded to Blue Lives Matter’s request for comment.