Black Lives Matter.
We have watched with sadness and frustration as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police officers, and as protests against these killings have turned into sites of police brutality, with protesters and reporters suffering violence at the hands of militarized police forces, including the NYPD, who have faced no consequences for this uncontrolled violence.
As shocking as it can be to watch these scenes, they are by no means unprecedented. Recently in New York, we witnessed the killing of Eric Garner by a police officer who was kept on the force for another five years, despite video of his use of a prohibited chokehold. Not long before that, we witnessed the perpetration of the racist stop and frisk program by the NYPD, which brutalized and traumatized an entire generation of people of color. Without deep and fundamental reform to how communities are policed, this tradition of police violence against people of color, which is older than the United States, will never be eradicated.
THE FOUR FREEDOMS DEMOCRATIC CLUB RESOLVES to support policies and legislation on the City, State, and national level which aim to curb over-policing and police violence, particularly against people of color. Many of our leaders have already put forth police reform bills which would help to bring justice to our communities, and we support those efforts wholeheartedly. These are some of the policies that we believe would create a more just society if passed, and we encourage lawmakers to continue to propose policies like those mentioned here:
A2513-O’Donnell/S3695-Bailey, to repeal New York Civil Rights Law 50-A, which Mayor De Blasio has interpreted as prohibiting disclosure of misconduct complaints against police officers, allowing abusive police officers to avoid public scrutiny and any consequences for their misconduct (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s3695)
A5472-Lentol/S1830B-Hoylman, The Police STAT Act, to force courts to track disparate enforcement tactics (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s1830)
A4053-Aubry/S2571-Bailey, to reduce arrests for non-criminal offenses that disproportionately impact communities of color (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s2571)
- A1601-Perry/S2574-Bailey, to establish a special prosecutor to investigate deaths caused by police encounters (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s2574/amendment/a)
A1617-Peoples-Stokes/S1527-Krueger, to legalize marijuana and invest in communities that have been most impacted by the war on drugs (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s1527)
S7527-Myrie, to end the practice of police disciplinary hearings mandatorily being heard by a judge on the NYPD payroll (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s7527)
- A reevaluation of the NYPD budget, which continues to grow even as other necessary services face steep cuts, in line with the principles outlined by Communities United for Police Reform (https://www.changethenypd.org/nycbudgetjustice)
These policies on their own will not bring about all the change that is required, and it will require sustained protest and activism in our communities to see these policies enacted at all. Black Lives Matter, and as long as systematic violence against Black Americans by law enforcement continues, we must not rest.
Four Freedoms stands with protesters against discriminatory policing and police violence, and we urge our elected leaders to do the same.