June 1, 2020

After Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a Monday night curfew in New York City, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams announced his opposition to the imposition of a curfew at this time and the additional 4,000 officers being added to the streets tonight. He released a series of police reform proposals, calling for the city and state to immediately enact them as a way for  New York to begin to address the systemic injustices in policing. He sent a letter to the Mayor and Governor Monday afternoon outlining these proposals, which is available here

"While I understand the potential benefits of a curfew, this is neither the right moment nor the right process for imposing one and adding an additional 4,000 officers to our streets. At this moment and in this way it could escalate tension, not alleviate them. Our executives refused to shut the city down to combat the COVID-19 pandemic which has disproportionately devastated black and brown communities, but when those same communities try to protest injustices, they decide to lock down the streets and double NYPD presence." said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. "This is another example of black and brown communities asking for aid and receiving police. Curfews won't address the reasons we are protesting - only meaningful reforms like those I'm proposing will." The proposals include: 

  • Repeal (Not Reform) 50-A. A repeal of Section 50-A of the New York State Civil Rights Law, "50-A," would provide much-needed transparency on police misconduct and discipline in New York State, and help the public see accountability for officers who have engaged in misconduct. To this end, existing FOIL statutes will continue to protect private information about officers (like their home address) once 50-A is repealed.
  • Make the Office of the Inspector General a truly independent agency
  • The NYPD Police Commissioner should be appointed by the Mayor, with the Advice and Consent of the City Council.
  • NYPD Budget
    • Disclose Itemized NYPD Budget. An operational matrix that allows departmental initiatives to display corresponding spending amounts, that does not itemize expenditures, but instead display only the programmatic breakdown would help New Yorkers understand the work, as every other city agency is required to do. 
    • Reduce the Budget of NYPD by Reinvesting in Communities. We know how to reduce crime and recidivism- jobs. Communities feel safe through community development in health, jobs, and education. Programs like Cure Violence offer alternatives to police interaction and expanding the scope and investment of these programs means more people have access to services and support that interrupt and reduce violence in the community. The quickest way to stop violence in our schools is with guidance counselors, restorative justice coordinators, and jobs. Investment into guidance counselors, and SYEP is how our city must move forward to heal at this moment.  
      • As an alternative to mass reductions to necessary services across the state due to New York's deficit, I have proposed implementing six broadly supported proposals that would raise more than $20 billion for the state budget, closing this gap and more while impacting only billionaires, multi-millionaires, and the largest corporations including. Our full plan can be found here.
  • Strengthen the CCRB role in the disciplinary process. The NYPD Commissioner should not be the sole arbitrator of discipline.
  •  Pass the Right to Record Act. Codify and expand, into Local Law, the First Amendment right to record police activities from a safe distance, and make it easier to sue in state court. 
  • Pass Reporting Bill on Level 1 and Level 2 Stops. Our communities deserve to know all instances in which police officers are engaging with members of their neighborhoods and why those interactions are happening. We cannot address the issue of disparate policing enforcement without first knowing the full scope of this problem.
  • Cancel New MTA Police Officer Additions. The resources allotted for their hiring should be invested in improving transit for all New Yorkers.
  • As pursuant to the current law, provide the Public Advocate's office with names and records of officers who engaged in misconduct this week. This includes looking into Officers who have ties to known hate groups.
  • Remove SRG from protests. The Strategic Response Group or SRG is a highly militarized component of the NYPD that is often deployed to police protests in NYC. This is not a force for de-escalation of angry and nonviolent civilians.
  • Move to a system where mental health providers and peers, rather than police, are the primary responders to emergency calls from people in mental distress.


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