In the Media

Activists and elected officials question NYPD’s recent social distancing enforcement

05/21/2020
Amsterdam News

Last week, a group of Orthodox Jewish people gathered at a lot located at 55th Street between 14th and 15th avenues in Crown Heights to celebrate Lag B’Omer, a Jewish holiday. There were dozens in the area dancing, with loud music blaring and no masks being worn. They were openly flouting social distancing rules. Police officers eventually showed up and cleared the area without incident.

NYPD Defends Its Massive Budget As Social Services And Youth Programs Are Cut

05/15/2020
Gothamist

With New York City facing a $10 billion shortfall in tax revenues due to COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio last month unveiled his plan for “painful” cuts to city services. His executive budget, set to be finalized with input from the City Council next month, calls for sweeping and immediate retrenchment — freezing new teacher hires, hobbling environmental initiatives, and cancelling the widely popular youth employment program.

Half of Queens residents are white, but 90% of social distance arrests just this week were of people of color

05/08/2020
Business Insider

In the Queens borough of New York City, which is 47.9% white, police officers have arrested at least 20 people over social-distancing issues since May 3.

Out of those 20 people, 16 were black or Hispanic, two were Asian, and two were white, a representative for the Queens District Attorney's Office told Business Insider. That means 90% of those arrested were people of color.

Half of all Brooklynites are white, but 97.5% of the borough's social distancing arrests were of people of color

05/08/2020
Business Insider

In the six weeks since March 17, police officers in Brooklyn have arrested 40 people for violating social-distancing rules.

Thirty-five of the people arrested were black and four Hispanic. Just one is white, even though 49.5% of Brooklyn residents are white, according to the US Census Bureau.

That means that 39 out of 40 — or 97.5% — of the arrests were for people of color.

All 40 cases have been dropped.

Police fears continue during COVID-19 pandemic

04/23/2020
Amsterdam News

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, concerns over how police are enforcing orders to help quell the spread of the virus are coming into question.

Reports indicate that the NYPD is enforcing social distancing regulations. Violating them can get you arrested with a fine of up to $1,000 or merely a summons. Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to call 311 on citizens who are not obeying social distancing rules. There is even a texting number to send photos to.

Neighbors Together advocates for homeless to stay in vacant hotel rooms during pandemic

04/07/2020
New 12

Many advocacy groups are banding together to be a voice for the homeless population during the coronavirus pandemic and are asking that the city's hotel rooms be opened up for them. 

Winston Tokuhisa told News 12 he has been homeless since 2006.

“I think we need to recognize that we are the most vulnerable,” said Tokuhisa.

Advocates urge de Blasio, Cuomo to put homeless in unused hotels

04/07/2020
Albany Times Union

ALBANY — Advocates and elected officials, including New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, are urging Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to house up to 30,000 homeless individuals in unused hotel rooms to help them engage in social distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19.

With support from several New York City council members and state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and state Assembly members Walter Mosley, Yuhline Niou and Harvey Epstein, the group said the move would stem the spread of coronavirus among people living on the streets as well as in homeless shelters.

CPR: Cuomo’s Budget Criminalizes Jeopardizes Minority Communities During Covid-19

04/03/2020
Black Star News

Community United for Police Reform say Cuomo's budget furthers criminalizes, and endangers, vulnerable minority New York communities during COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), the largest, most diverse coalition fighting for public safety and police accountability in New York, released the following statement about the New York state budget just enacted in Albany:

NYC Electeds Call on Mayor, NYPD to Ease Low-Level Arrest During Virus Crisis

03/18/2020
BK Reader

Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Rory Lancman, Chair of the Committee on the Justice System, and Council Member Donavan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, are calling on the city’s top law enforcement officials to take all necessary measures to keep as many New Yorkers as possible out of the criminal justice system in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes just as, Wednesday morning, it was revealed that a Corrections Officer working on Rikers Island tested positive for COVID-19.

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