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STATEMENT: Communities United for Police Reform Responds to Governor Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State Address

Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his annual State of the State address.  Below is Communities United for Police Reform’s response to the Governor’s speech and the policies he has prioritized for the upcoming year.

“2020 brought incredible pain and struggle to New York State, specifically in Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and communities of color where people contended with the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued abuse and discrimination from police, as Governor Cuomo focused on in his speech. It is disappointing that the Governor’s address this morning did not provide specific solutions that would reduce police budgets, increase police accountability, and reinvest much needed resources into education, housing, health care, and jobs in the communities that need them most,” said Monifa Bandele, spokesperson for CPR. “We’re glad that Cuomo has once again prioritized legalizing marijuana, but any plan must include comprehensive plans to provide restitution to those most harmed by marijuana prohibition. This legislative session has the potential to be a landmark year for moving beyond limited policing reforms and moving toward restructuring public health and safety if the following are prioritized:

  • Decreasing police budgets and outsized power of police departments and police unions, while reinvesting resources into communities hardest hit by pandemic losses.
  • Removing police from social service and public health response, including removing police from mental health response, schools, youth outreach, homeless outreach, and other areas.
  • De-militarizing the police and reducing the use of surveillance technologies in policing.
  • Increasing transparency of harm done by the police and ensuring strong disciplinary outcomes.
  • Supporting efforts that enable communities to prevent and defend themselves from police violence.
  • Securing restitution for survivors of police violence, families who have lost loved ones to police violence, and communities most impacted by police violence.
  • Reducing the reliance on incarceration as a form of policing, by reducing jail populations, and the amount of jails, prisons, and detention centers throughout New York State.

“Creating policies that extend the reach of policing and the criminal legal system, instead of providing community-based safety solutions that reduce reliance on police, is not what New Yorkers need, especially now. The Governor should instead be focused on strengthening and upholding current reporting requirements for police misconduct that resulted from the repeal of 50-a and the Police STAT Act.”

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.