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More Than 40 Organizations Call on Charter Revision Commission to Support Changes to NYC Charter that Will Increase Police Accountability and Transparency

New York, NY – Today, more than 40 advocacy and community-based organizations sent a joint letter to the Charter Revision Commission calling for changes to the New York City Charter that will increase police accountability and transparency.

The letter comes in advance of the Charter Revision Commission’s June 12 meeting in which Commissioners will decide on final proposals for revising the New York City Charter that will appear on the November 2019 ballot.

“Our proposed revisions to the Charter will help protect and improve the lives of New Yorkers of color who most often experience abusive and discriminatory policing, including young people, immigrants, people who are homeless, NYCHA residents, LGBTQ, gender nonconforming, women, and others,” the organizations write in their letter.

“The charter revisions we support would advance two key goals: 1) increase police accountability when officers harm New Yorkers, and 2) create real fiscal transparency of the City’s policing and public oversight of the city’s purchasing, procurement and use of surveillance technologies used to police New Yorkers,” they write.

The key reform proposals highlighted in today’s letter to the Charter Revision Commission are as follows:

1)  Increase police accountability for killings, brutality, sexual violence, gender-based violence and other police misconduct – and the systemic culture of related misconduct that obstructs investigations and promotes cover-ups – when officers harm members of the public.

A.         Expand Civilian Complaint Board (CCRB) authority to prosecute on “other related misconduct” in police misconduct cases that CCRB has jurisdiction to investigate – particularly misconduct that can impede or obstruct investigations and/or contribute to cover-ups.

B.         Provide CCRB with explicit authority to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute complaints against school safety agents, and other “peace officers”.  School safety agent complaints are currently sent to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, providing no transparency or faith in disciplinary action when school safety agents harm children and young people in NYC schools.

C.         Require public disclosure and transparency when the Commissioner deviates on CCRB findings and discipline recommendations. The reason for deviation should be made public (as was intended when CCRB’s Administrative Prosecution Unit was created in 2012).

D.        Enable CCRB to determine discipline in cases that they prosecute (via their Administrative Prosecution Unit).

2)  Create fiscal transparency of the City’s policing -- and ensure opportunities for public oversight of surveillance-related technologies purchased by the NYPD and other City agencies.

A.             Amend the Charter procurement process so that it requires public transparency, equity impact statements, public input, and opportunity for the City Council to veto and prevent purchase or renewals of surveillance technologies.

B.         Require NYPD reporting of private sources of income and expenses paid by those sources and other sources of income not currently subject to Council oversight.

C.         Require detailed units of appropriation in NYPD budget so that New Yorkers understand what the NYPD’s budget of over $5 Billion is spent on.

Click here to read the full letter to the Charter Revision Commission


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 policing practices based on cooperation and respect– not discriminatory targeting and harassment.

CPR brings 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 unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. CPR is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.

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