Mother of Ramarley Graham, Community Members and Advocates Question de Blasio/O’Neill Commitment and Substance to Ending Police Abuses against Communities
In response to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill touting low 2016 crime statistics, New Yorkers, community members and advocates release statements about the de Blasio administration’s failure to address NYPD abuses, misconduct, racial disparities and lack of accountability.
Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham (killed by NYPD in 2012), said: “A decrease in crime statistics is a good thing, but the de Blasio administration has failed to help end ongoing police abuses against our communities because it refuses to address the abuses, the continuing racial disparities in policing and the NYPD’s failure to hold officers accountable for violence and abuse of power. Almost 5 years have passed since over a dozen NYPD officers killed my son Ramarley Graham, abused my family and engaged in other related misconduct, and yet Mayor de Blasio has simply maintained the business-as-usual NYPD culture that allows these officers to continue collecting taxpayer salaries with pay raises. The de Blasio administration’s recent actions to hide disciplinary measures and misconduct records of officers may result in my family never being able to get answers or accountability for the murder of Ramarley by NYPD officers, all while Mayor de Blasio hides behind ridiculous excuses that make no sense.
“At the same time, the NYPD under de Blasio recently gave less of a punishment (5 vacation days) to an officer who nearly killed 14-year-old Javier Payne in the Bronx than it did to an officer caught on video blaming the mayor for his issuing a summons (8 vacation days),” continued Malcolm. These are not the actions of a police department and administration that respect our communities and prioritize our rights and safety, or is committed to real changes. Until we see concrete actions to end police abuses and hold officers accountable in a real way – including firing the many officers involved in killing my son Ramarley Graham – Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill are just advancing rhetoric and a campaign of public relations spin without any substance.”
Mark Winston Griffith, executive director of Brooklyn Movement Center and spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform, stated: “Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill have yet to deliver substance that changes how our communities experience policing, and their appointment of a handful of officers in each precinct to so-called ‘neighborhood policing’ doesn’t change that – it doesn’t address police abuses or the lack of accountability for them. Members of our communities remain disproportionately targeted by hyper-aggressive, discriminatory broken windows policing. Meanwhile, we’ve yet to see Mayor de Blasio address these racial disparities in policing or the failure of NYPD to consistently and meaningfully hold officers accountable for abusing, brutalizing and even killing our community members. Training and ‘neighborhood policing’ may sound nice, but until there’s substance to address abuses, racial disparities, and NYPD accountability, they will remain buzzwords with little impact in communities.”
Jesus Morales, a member of Picture the Homeless who successfully sought legal redress for NYPD abuses of him and other homeless New Yorkers that was just recently settled with the city, said: “I'm glad that with this settlement, the city is acknowledging that something bad happened. People need to know how much the police abuse homeless people. They assaulted me while I was asleep, and they tossed my belongings in a dump truck, and it's not right. I'm not an animal. None of us are. And this settlement won't make the cops stop what they're doing. For what I suffered, and what hundreds of people are suffering every day, the Mayor needs to act now to stop these out-of-control cops who are brutalizing us.”
Tina Luongo, Attorney in Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at Legal Aid Society stated: “All New Yorkers want public safety and today's announcement of low crime rates by the Mayor and Police Commissioner are welcomed. However, in order to really build trust with the people of this City, especially communities of color, greater attention has to be paid to address police abuses and the department’s lack of accountability and transparency that leaves some communities vulnerable. This administration’s actions and continued fight to conceal information about police discipline and misconduct are inexcusable and represent a departure from many past administrations. Mayor de Blasio’s previous pledges to advance transparency and police accountability makes this even more dismaying. Discriminatory policing that allows significant racial disparities to persist continues, whether it’s NYPD disproportionately targeting Black and Latino workers for gravity knives or cis and trans women of color under loitering statutes. We have yet to see reforms to address police abuses pursued with the equal comprehensiveness and intensity given to lowering crime, and true safety for all cannot be achieved without such a commitment to action.”
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.