Contact: Kristine Mikkelsen

Statement: NYPD Violence is a Horrific Response to Student Protests

In response to the violence by the NYPD in riot gear against student protesters at The City College of New York CUNY and Columbia University last night and at multiple schools over the past weeks, Communities United for Police Reform issued the following statement from CPR Spokesperson Loyda Colon (they/them), Executive Director of the Justice Committee.

“The NYPD and its Strategic Response Group’s (SRG) violent, militarized repression of student protests calling for ceasefire in Gaza and university divestments from Israel at multiple schools in the past weeks, and in particular last night at The City College of NY-CUNY and Columbia University is appalling and shameful, as is university administrations’ collusion with this brutality. CPR condemns the violent mass arrests and brutalizing of students and faculty and the NYPD’s deployment of dangerous militarized tactics, such as officers in riot gear swarming, kettling and macing protesters and entering buildings with guns drawn.

“Last night, hundreds of students, faculty and other New Yorkers experienced the dark reality of Mayor Adams’ NYPD, which Black, Latine and other communities of color know all too well. The NYPD and SRG escalation of attacks on college protests are clear evidence that the NYPD and Adams’ criminalizing approach to public safety and protection of abusive officers make our city less safe.

“By pouring more and more of our city’s resources into the NYPD to criminalize communities of color - as well as voices of dissent -, while stripping meaningful investments from services our communities need to thrive, Mayor Adams has made it clear that he does not stand with New Yorkers. This wasteful misuse of resources endangers our communities and emboldens and encourages the kind of police violence we saw last night - and it must not stand. The NYPD must be fully investigated and held accountable for its repression of the college protests, all officers who engaged in misconduct and abused protesters must be fired, the SRG must be disbanded, and our city leaders must stop the mayor from continuing to write a blank check to the NYPD.”

The notoriously abusive Strategic Response Group was notably present at Columbia University and City College and is a staple presence at any protest activity in New York City. SRG was founded in 2015 allegedly to confront terrorism but has instead been employed on the protest activity of New Yorkers, and particularly any racial justice activity. In his latest executive budget, Mayor Adams proposed yet another bloated NYPD budget of $11.9B in FY25; this includes a $10M increase to the SRG budget to $145M. Meanwhile, education, mental health services, libraries and other vital programs that care for New Yorkers remain severely underfunded while the communities who would most benefit from that support are instead criminalized by the city.

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: NYC Budget Justice