Miguel Richards Should Be Alive Today, Police Reform Campaign Says

September 14, 2017 – In response to the release of body camera footage documenting the killing of Miguel Richards by NYPD officers, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) issued the following statement attributable to CPR Director Joo-Hyun Kang.

“Miguel Richards should be alive today. He was in his home, in his own room, and not bothering anyone and never approached or posed a threat to these officers, but instead his life was taken. Yelling commands at someone with guns drawn on them when they're in the corner of their room in their own home isn’t de-escalation. Police should not be first responders in wellness checks, and landlords shouldn’t be able to break into a tenant’s home with armed officers.

Officers forcibly entered Miguel Richards’ room and escalated the situation within 16 minutes. When Officer Jesus Ramos came to the scene, he asked the other officers ‘You want to take him down now?’ and then proceeded to enter Miguel’s room and Taser him immediately – without ever speaking directly to Miguel or communicating that he was about to be Tased. A hail of at least 16 bullets rained down on Miguel within seconds.

Why officers broke protocol and killed Miguel within 16 minutes of breaching his doorway when he wasn't posing an immediate threat to anyone, instead of waiting for emergency service unit (ESU) officers who were reportedly nearby is one of many outstanding questions that must be answered.

New Yorkers should not be killed by police officers when they are alone in their own apartments not bothering anyone - but this is happening with a frequency in New York City as if it is normal. Miguel is the fifth person who appeared to be in emotional crisis who has been killed by the NYPD in less than a year.

This process has also exhibited how bad the NYPD's policy is surrounding body cameras. While it's a positive step that footage was released in this incident, transparency isn't the NYPD being able to decide on a case-by-case basis whether, when, and how it will release body camera footage and what footage – or compiled and edited footage – it will release. It allows the NYPD to choose to release self-serving footage and withhold damning footage. Why wasn’t there sound in the footage when officers forcibly entered Miguel Richards’ home? It's insulting for the department to now claim it is transparent when it has indicated that it intends to include body camera footage in its infinitely-expanding definition of 50a, and so much surrounding this footage remains unclear.”

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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