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NYPD Reports Plunge In Arrests Since Pantaleo Firing, Sparking Police Slowdown Concerns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Arrests totals in New York City have plunged in the two weeks since the NYPD fired the officer accused of using an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner -- highlighting a possible work slowdown among rank and file police officers still angered by the actions of their own commissioner.

Felony arrests are down 11 percent and misdemeanor arrests are down 17 percent since Officer Daniel Pantaleo was terminated following a five-year investigation into Garner's death.

Those crime numbers were compared to average daily totals for the rest of the year, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Wednesday. The NYPD has also seen a 32-percent drop in moving violations as well.

O'Neill stopped short of saying the declines were the result of an intentional slowdown. He said he and other department leaders are studying data such as sick time usage, response times, radio backlogs, and enforcement activity to pinpoint where and why fewer arrests are occurring.

"We have expectations that our officers perform," O'Neill said.

While New York's top cop expects his officers to perform, the NYPD's largest union has already called for O'Neill's resignation -- passing a resolution of "no confidence" in both the commissioner and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

MORE: NYPD Union Votes 'No Confidence' In Bill De Blasio, Calls On Governor To Remove Mayor From Office

The head of the Police Benevolent Association hinted at a possible slowdown following Pantaleo's firing for using what a department administrative judge deemed a banned chokehold in 2014.

"For years, Mayor de Blasio has demonized police officers and undermined our efforts to protect our city. For years, Commissioner O'Neill has cravenly acquiesced to the Mayor and his anti-cop allies," PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement after Pantaleo's firing in August.

"Neither can hope to regain the trust or confidence of New York City police officers. They must resign or be fired."

FLASHBACK - PBA President Patrick Lynch slams the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo:

Lynch said in the wake of the firing that officers would continue to uphold their oath to serve and protect the public, but not "by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety."

Lynch said it was time for each officer "to make their own choice" and that the union urged them to "proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed 'reckless' just for doing their job."

De Blasio, who earlier said the city wouldn't accept a slowdown, said Wednesday: "Our officers are keeping people safe and they're acting like professionals. And if there are some sporadic issues, they'll be dealt with."

The city has been seeing a systematic drop in summons and arrest totals since 2014 amid an overall reduction in crime, but enforcement activity after Pantaleo's firing has declined at a rate greater than the annual decline police see in each category of enforcement, the NYPD said.

Before Pantaleo's firing, the city was averaging about 237 felony arrests and 373 misdemeanor arrests per day this year. Since then, it's averaging 210 felony arrests and 311 misdemeanor arrests per day.

O'Neill tried to explain away part of the drop in misdemeanor arrests of late on a marijuana decriminalization law that went into effect in the state on Aug. 28.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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