As the mass uprisings across the country continue, protestors and advocates are trying to hold public officials accountable for making real reforms.
In the Media
As protests over the killing of George Floyd continue across the country, momentum in New York to repeal a decades-old police transparency law appears to be gaining steam, according to activists and legislators involved in the effort, in what they say would be a major step forward in the fight for police reform.
It’s the $1-billion solution.
Activists — and perhaps soon, some politicians — are focusing on cutting the $6-billion NYPD budget by $1 billion, and redistributed in a way that better benefits long-suffering communities and reduces police brutality.
At some point, history may show us that after years of aggression, after so much brutality that suggested so little fear of consequence, it took the looting of Chanel and the reversion of SoHo to a wasteland to disable a law that has made real police accountability so difficult in New York City. It required a political class moved by fear — of disorder and desecration — rather than compelled by the logic of justice, which had been obvious for so long.
Crowds took to the streets nearly a week ago in a rage after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, but as the protests move into their next phase, the question of what it will it take to quell them—what exactly that would look like—is gaining new urgency.
The answer is both simple and complicated. Above all, the protesters say they are looking for justice. But what justice looks like varies by city, by incident, and according to the community's history with police.
The chant was hard to decipher through a bullhorn on a Tribeca street Sunday night, all the more so because the message was a bit unfamiliar. But, listen to the video posted online enough times, and you can make out what the protester was yelling: “Fuck the PBA!”
As people protested around the country in response to the death of George Floyd, the nation has seen video after video of police tear gassing, shoving, and shooting at protestors. At massive protests in New York, a police van drove through a protest, and one officer even pulled a handgun on protestors in Manhattan’s Union Square.
Homeless New Yorkers can’t stay home. And many are right to fear the danger of living on the streets, where they are subject to sweeps and other abusive policing, or in crowded shelters, which have become hotspots for coronavirus transmission.
Without adequate options for housing or safe shelter, more homeless New Yorkers have been driven to the transit system in recent months, as a safer option than the alternatives.
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.
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.