Communities United for Police Reform Releases Statement on Right to Know Act Bills

In response to Right to Know Act bills being laid to age last night for an impending vote, Communities United for Police Reform released the following statement from spokesperson Monifa Bandele.

“Council Member Antonio Reynoso has demonstrated real leadership by ensuring his half of the Right to Know Act, supported by a coalition of 200+ organizations, advocates, and families of New Yorkers killed by police brutality, will be moving forward. His persistent advocacy to maintain an effective version of Intro 541 and related agreements is a testament to his commitment to advancing real change that is backed by and for communities. We urge Council members to support Intro 541 of the Right to Know Act to advance safety and justice in New York City by increasing transparency and accountability regarding searches during non-emergency policing encounters that have no legal basis other than a person’s supposed consent.

“In contrast, Council Member Torres has entirely disregarded communities and New Yorkers most impacted by police abuses – including families of New Yorkers killed by NYPD over past decades – by taking steps to move forward with a NYPD proposal that the Right To Know Act coalition opposes because of its massive loopholes that gut protections for the majority of policing encounters. By advancing a bill that fails to include the officer identification requirements for all non-emergency investigatory encounters and traffic stops, which are the site of many of the most frequent policing abuses, and creates a major loophole that guts the requirement for officers to give an explanation of non-emergency encounters, New Yorkers will remain without the transparency and accountability that the Right to Know Act’s Intro 182 would have provided for the vast majority of policing interactions. This NYPD bill being advanced by Torres is neither the Right to Know Act nor a compromise, but political backroom dealing and a surrender of legislative independence to the NYPD and the Mayor. It is the height of disrespect by Council Member Torres, who was given the bill by this coalition because he pledged to be a solid advocate working in partnership with communities, but yet gave up advocating for a strong, coalition-supported version long before the finish line. He has also reneged on his public pledge to the Right To Know Act coalition to not pass a version of the bill that the coalition does not support. This bill originated from communities who crafted it to address the most common abuses experienced by them in policing encounters, not by Torres or this Council. If this moves forward, it is a failure of leadership and a dishonorably crass political move that would reflect poorly on Council Member Torres and anyone who stands by it, providing an empty rhetorical achievement that leaves the civil rights of community members unprotected. We urge Council Members to oppose this loophole-dominated bill and continue to support the passage of the real Right to Know Act identification requirement, even if that means waiting until the next legislative session when it can have a lead sponsor who will effectively advocate for it.”

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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Topics: Right to Know Act