New NYPD guidelines will hobble a pilot program intended to test the effectiveness of body cameras in holding police officers accountable for unjustified street stops and other abuses of power, according to civil rights attorneys and community groups.
In the Media
Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made no secret of his hostility towards movements that have drawn attention to police violence, challenged the confluence of immigration and local law enforcement, and called for meaningful police reform and accountability and reform.
Activists continued to hammer away at the NYPD’s body camera program Thursday.
Outside City Hall, groups affiliated with Communities United for Police Reform demanded that the pilot program — slated to begin next week and eventually involve 1,000 officers in 20 precincts — be halted until changes are made.
Eighteen-year-old unarmed Ramarley Graham was shot and killed in front of his grandmother and younger brother. Five years later Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, is doing everything in her power to get justice for her son.
Police officers chased Graham into his home without a warrant and violated protocol repeatedly. Fast-forward to April 12, 2017—on this day Graham would have turned 24.
On March 16, I videotaped two New York Police Department (NYPD) officers pushing and threatening students from Midwood High School in Brooklyn. Toward the end of the encounter, one of the officers threatened the young people with a Taser, asking them if they wanted to "ride the lightning." The officers were attempting to disperse these young people from a public sidewalk for reasons unknown to me.
In the weeks since Donald Trump won the presidential election and assumed office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has sought every opportunity to present himself as opposed to Trump. While de Blasio has promoted his administration as a defender against Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist agenda, he has refused to take concrete action within his own power to protect New Yorkers.
About 19 months ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that was hailed by many advocates and elected officials as a bold and unprecedented step towards police accountability.
Cuomo made Attorney General Eric Schneiderman a special prosecutor in certain cases of civilian deaths involving police officers. At the time, much of the country was focused on several high-profile examples of police killings of unarmed people, including Eric Garner in New York City.
In the national conversation about police violence, the name Ramarley Graham has been far less present than Mike Brown’s, Eric Garner’s, Freddie Gray’s, or Sandra Bland’s. This may be because Black Lives Matter was not yet a national movement when eighteen-year-old Graham was fatally shot in February 2012 by an NYPD officer. In fact, it was just weeks before Trayvon Martin’s death brought the issues of police brutality and institutionalized racism to widespread national attention.