Contact: Mandela Jones (646) 200-5316

Statement from CPR & Public Housing Advocates Re: Mayor Bloomberg’s Comments on the Fingerprinting of Public Housing Residents

In response to Mayor Bloomberg saying public housing residents should all be fingerprinted to enter their homes, Communities United for Police Reform and several public housing advocates released the following statements.

“Mayor Bloomberg’s comments about fingerprinting people entering NYCHA buildings is highly insulting, and his insistence that some people in the city do not deserve the same level of civil rights as others unfortunately no longer comes as a shock,” said Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform. “His comments only reinforce the dire need for the City Council to override his veto of the Community Safety Act and finally protect New Yorkers from discriminatory profiling – including protections against discrimination based on housing status. It’s regrettable that we have a mayor who is so out of touch that he continues to proudly express his belief that some New Yorkers should tolerate discriminatory treatment and violations of their rights based on factors like their race or housing status.”

“Mayor Bloomberg’s derogatory statements about public housing residents are an outrage,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. “Families live in public housing apartments, not criminals.  Public housing residents, as well as the friends and family visiting them, deserve the same level of respect from our Mayor as any other New York City resident.  They should not be treated like prisoners in their own homes.”

“As the largest legal defense and legal services program in the United States, we stand ready to protect public housing applicants and residents and their families from a draconian fingerprinting initiative,” said Steven Banks, the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, which annually provides legal assistance in 300,000 individual legal matters in all five boroughs for low-income New Yorkers with civil, criminal and juvenile rights legal problems, including substantial numbers of New York City Housing Authority tenants.

“Mayor Bloomberg's interest is clearly not in protecting low income people of color, but rather policing them in their own homes and communities,” said Greg Basta, Deputy Director of New York Communities for Change. “The idea of fingerprinting anyone that lives in or visits a NYCHA building is nothing less than a direct violation of the civil rights of NYCHA residents, their friends, and their families.”

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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