At City Council Hearing, New Yorkers Demand Investment in Real Solutions, Not on Failed and Dangerous Policing Laid out in Mayor's Blueprint
Today, New York City community leaders elevated community-centered solutions for public safety at a City Council hearing on the mayor’s proposed “Blueprint to End Gun Violence.” Mayor Eric Adams “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” has been heavily criticized and condemned by community groups and organizations from across the city for its regressive policing policies that will target Black, Latinx, and other communities of color and increase interactions between communities and the abusive practices of the NYPD.
Today, the families of New Yorkers killed by police, along with Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) members and partners testified at the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety hearing on the Mayor's “Blueprint," to demand NYPD accountability; raise concerns around Adams’ expanded policing tactics, including his recently renewed focus on failed and abusive broken windows policing; and uplift solutions for public health and safety rooted in community investments, not more policing.
The father of Antonio Wililams (killed by NYPD in 2019), mother of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in 1994) and leaders from CPR members and partners, including the Justice Committee, Brooklyn Movement Center, FIERCE, Legal Aid, NYCLU and more focused on three major areas during the hearing: police accountability, community investments and surveillance.
Of the Blueprint’s neighborhood safety teams, Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams who was killed by the NYPD in 2019, said, "No matter their uniform, the Neighborhood Safety Teams are directed to aggressively target Black and Latinx people and rely on their own suspicions and racial profiling. This is what the Anti-Crime Unit did to my son, Antonio Williams. In 2019, Antonio was simply waiting for a cab in the Bronx when Anti-Crime officers unconstitutionally tried to stop him. They chased and assaulted him, then recklessly shot and murdered him with little care for his life. My family is demanding all of the officers who killed my son be fired."
For many New York communities, in particular communities most directly impacted by abusive policing, the “Blueprint” harkens back to Guiliani-era policing and seeks to advance discredited, discriminatory and abusive policing strategies, inlcuding an attempt to rebrand the notoriously violent NYPD anti-crime unit and initiating a renew focus on broken windows policing practices that criminalize and increase harm for Black, Latinx and low-income communities across the city.
“This Blueprint will not end violence in this city, it will only perpetuate it, especially in Black, Latinx and other communities of color who are disproportionately targeted,” said Isabel Gonzalez-Webster, Executive Director, Communities United for Police Reform. “Expanded policing doesn’t protect us. It surveils us, it criminalizes us and it pushes us into the carceral system thereby devastating entire communities. Adams isn’t investing in our safety, he is investing in our continued abuse.”
Instead of a return to failed, violent policies, organizations demanded real community investment.
Justice Committee Member Olivia Adechi said, "If NYC pushes forward the failed, abusive approach to public safety embedded in the mayor’s Blueprint and preliminary budget, it will only enhance a system of poverty that has already been amplified by the pandemic. A truly transformative approach would end NYC’s reliance on over-policing and criminalization and include historic levels of investment in a new mental healthcare system that is community-based, culturally competent, and non-coercive, non-law enforcement anti-violence programs, year-round job opportunities for youth and adults, guidance counselors and restorative justice programs in schools and truly affordable housing for all."
“Increased policing not only elevates the physical risks of police abuse, but research shows it increases the psychological harm of constant surveillance, financial insecurity and the continual fear of potential violence. For a holistic approach to health that values physical and mental well-being, New York City Council needs to make investments that will undo generations of systemic divestment in Black life – ones that get to the roots of violence not just the temporary, expensive, and violent-in-its-own-right solution of policing. For over a century, Black leaders have put forth the very solutions we need to consider for a vibrant and safe Brooklyn. Creating access to critical resources like high-quality affordable housing, critical infrastructure, education, and public health resources can help us address the social determinants of health that are also the social determinants of violence. Policing has long been the blueprint for a house that can’t seem to stand up – it is time to let our communities be the architects of our future,” stated Anthonine Pierre, Executive Director of Brooklyn Movement Center.
“For decades, our communities have begged for a holistic resolution for public health and safety that addresses the root causes of gun violence and all other violence that exist in the city. It’s my experience, both as a Latina born and raised in East Harlem and as an advocate for my community, that the “organized abandonment” of our communities stems from our leaders and city agencies. We need to focus on the root of the problems, instead of relying on failed policing strategies that continue to violently harm people who are the heart of this city. The Mayor’s blueprint ignores what our communities have demanded for years, and instead, promotes policing strategies that will enable the NYPD to continue to perpetuate violence in Black and Latinx communities," said Pilar DeJesus, Advocacy Coordinator/ Paralegal for TakeRoot Justice.
"We have tried this approach before with anti-crime and broken windows policing, and it doesn’t work," said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at the Legal Aid Society. "What works is investing in community-based, non-policing solutions like Cure Violence."
"Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) is deeply concerned about the Mayor’s Blueprint to End Gun Violence, which will further criminalize Black, brown, and immigrant communities, and expand invasive surveillance and violent over-policing practices. The Mayor has previously said he wants to restrict cooperation between ICE and the police, and protect immigrant communities--- yet his proposal would expand cooperation between the NYPD and state police and federal agencies. This would effectively funnel people to ICE custody and deportation. We call on the administration to uphold its commitments to immigrant communities by limiting cooperation and information sharing between ICE and the NYPD and DOC, and restricting the NYPD's use of surveillance technologies like facial recognition," stated Alli Finn, Senior Researcher - Surveillance, Tech & Immigration Policing Project at the Immigrant Defense Project.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.Topics: Broken Windows