Families Of Loved Ones Killed By Police Slam Mayor’s Process, Call For Firing Of Officers And Defunding The NYPD At City Council Hearing On Police Reform Plan
New York, NY – Today, families of loved ones killed by the NYPD, advocates, and legal experts will testify at the New York City Council Oversight Hearing of the Committee on Public Safety. In responding to Governor Cuomo’s executive order, requiring municipalities to put forward police “reform and reinvention” plans, the NYPD has led the City’s process, with virtual events criticized as serving as NYPD propaganda sessions to create a false illusion of community input.
Participants at today’s hearing will call for the firing of NYPD officers who have killed, brutalized and enacted other violence on New Yorkers, including the officers who killed Delrawn Small (Officer Wayne Isaacs), Kawaski Trawick (Officers Brendan Thompson and Herbert Davis), Antonio Williams (Officers McMahon, Valentino, Wichers and Det. Beddows), and those who have still not been fired for their roles in the killing of Eric Garner (Officer Justin Damico and Lt. Christopher Bannon). They also called for removal of police from various roles, including schools, youth outreach and mental health response; reductions in the budget, scope, size, and power of the NYPD in order to prevent and decrease future police violence and killings; and an end to harmful NYPD policies and practices as part of New York City’s plan to reform policing.
Below are excerpts of some of the testimonies:
IRIS BAEZ, MOTHER OF ANTHONY BAEZ: “More than anyone, we – the mothers, the sisters, the brothers, the family members of those the NYPD murdered - we understand the danger of letting the NYPD keep killing with no accountability. I have been fighting non-stop against police brutality and racist violence since my son Anthony was murdered – it’s been 26 years. I helped pass City Council laws like the Community Safety Act and Right To Know Act. I helped pass state laws like the repeal of 50a and the special prosecutor law. The Mayor and NYPD’s process is fake and will make no change. The only way to make change is to have other people – not the NYPD and not de Blasio - have control of the process and families like mine need to help lead that.” [Full testimony]
VICTORIA DAVIS, SISTER OF DELRAWN SMALL: “Two years ago, my brother Victor and I testified before the City Council on the failures of the NYPD’s discipline system. We told the story of our older brother, Delrawn Small, who was on his way home from a 4th of July barbeque in 2016 when he was shot and killed by Wayne Isaacs, an off-duty NYPD officer. The CCRB substantiated charges against Isaacs in October and sent them to the NYPD. It’s three months later, and as far as I know the NYPD still hasn’t served those charges on Isaacs.
I believe the NYPD is trying to avoid firing Isaacs by continuing their years of delay and playing games. Officers like Wayne Isaacs are a danger to New Yorkers and should be fired. We need you to take seriously why we, the families are fighting to defund the NYPD and move some of that money to things that will truly keep our communities safe. The NYPD keeps acting without consequences. We can’t keep giving them more money, staff and power.” [Full testimony]
VICTOR DEMPSEY, BROTHER OF DELRAWN SMALL: “Delrawn was killed in front of his girlfriend, stepdaughter, and 4-month old baby by Wayne Isaacs, more than four and a half years ago. So far, the families whose loved ones have been killed the NYPD and the main groups who have expertise and can call them out have not been consulted in any real way on the City’s plan for reforming police. That should make clear to you that whatever plan the Mayor and NYPD proposes to the City Council won’t be effective – I know this because we are part of the families who were not asked.” [Full testimony]
HAWA BAH, MOTHER OF MOHAMED BAH: “I am very concerned that the City is doing a “police reform” process that is being led by the NYPD. This won’t work. Unless reforms come from the communities who are abused by the NYPD every day, especially families who have lost our loved ones, we are not going to get the change we need. My son was a hard worker, an honors student, and a Muslim man who was loved by his neighbors. I called 911 to get an ambulance, but the police came first. Instead of helping him, they killed him in his own home. I need you to commit to pushing for Officer Mateo, Lt. Licitra, all the other officers who killed my son, and the officers who killed others like Delrawn Small, Antonio Williams and Kawaski Trawick to be fired.” [Full testimony]
SAMY FELIZ, BROTHER OF ALLAN FELIZ: “On October 17, 2019, my brother was unjustly stopped in his car, beaten, tasered, shot and killed by NYPD Sgt. Jonathan Rivera and Officers Michelle Almanzar and Edward Barrett in the Bronx. My family and I are calling for the firing of Sgt. Jonathan Rivera, and Officers Edward Barrett and Michelle Almanzar. Sadly, my family’s story is not unusual. So many other families are fighting for accountability. NYPD violence is a very serious problem and the City’s “reform process” following Gov. Cuomo’s executive order is its own big problem. Mayor de Blasio’s response has been a sham from the start.” [Full testimony]
CHARLOTTE POPE, GIRLS FOR GENDER EQUITY: “Time and time again, students community, and education advocates have made clear that young people do not need police to serve as counselors or aides to them, instead, the city must make real investments in building positive school climate where students have ample (non-law enforcement) staff, restorative practices, and the resources to meet their educational, mental health, and emotional needs. Healthy, equitable schools are police-free schools.” [Full testimony]
COREY STOUGHTON, ATTORNEY-IN-CHARGE OF THE SPECIAL LITIGATION UNIT WITH THE CRIMINAL DEFENSE PRACTICE AT THE LEGAL AID SOCIETY: “This past summer, New Yorkers took to the streets to confront white supremacy and police violence, demanding swift and meaningful reform. Since those demonstration, Mayor Bill de Blasio has only undermined efforts to advance reform by failing to implement Governor Cuomo’s executive order requiring a plan to ‘reform and reinvent’ policing. This plan is critical because it is the only step taken, to date, that promises to deliver the transformative change demanded by this summer’s protests. The Legal Aid Society thanks the City Council for holding this important oversight hearing which will hopefully send a clear signal to City Hall that any plan that fails to answer the calls from impacted communities will be rejected when the plan is presented for approval in April.” [Full testimony]
- CPR staff and other CPR members expected to testify include the following: Joo-Hyun Kang, director of CPR; Kadiata Kaba and Keith Fuller from Make the Road New York; Jasmine and Yaszmin Harris, from AVP’s TGNC Leadership Academy, NYC Anti Violence Project; Michael Sisitzky, NYCLU; Melissa Moore, Drug Police Alliance; and Justine Olderman, Bronx Defenders.
Full testimony of CPR members can be found here.
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.