Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/policing 2019-06-24T22:33:31+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Missing Pieces of the Criminal Justice Reform Conversation 2019-06-05T04:00:00+00:00 2019-06-05T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8567-missing-pieces-of-the-criminal-justice-reform-conversation Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/pol-comm-medal.jpg" alt="pol comm medal" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Spencer T Tucker/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>Many justice reformers welcome increased political support for constructive systemic changes. New York state government, for example, recently enacted reforms aimed at restricting the use of cash bail and reducing misdemeanor arrests. Many Democratic presidential candidates pointedly decry mass incarceration and our "broken" criminal justice system.</p> <p>The most positive feature of this shifting landscape is the moral concern that it reflects, the relatively new recognition among pundits, politicians, and broader public that our criminal justice system is marked by a stark racial bias and that it undeniably violates our nation's core principle of, as Thomas Jefferson put it, providing "equal and exact justice" for all people.</p> <p>What's missing, though, is certainty that all the attention will lead to meaningful changes in on-the-ground practices.</p> <p>For instance, New York’s bail law includes significant exceptions regarding who can benefit from its provisions: judges can still set cash bail for New Yorkers with open warrants and with failures to appear in their histories. That’s many thousands of people.</p> <p>Plus, and this point applies to all the reforms enacted, the agencies mainly responsible for the system’s current abuses, district attorneys and police, are still in power. They are in charge of implementing the changes and have ways at their disposal, overcharging being the most handy, to undermine them if they so choose.</p> <p>Also, none of the Democratic presidential candidates who engage in indignant rhetoric on the issue have presented the kind of specific steps needed to reverse mass incarceration and to end systemic racism. We know from research and experience that the typical proposals that they and other mainstream politicians offer — body cameras, community policing, increased diversity, even marijuana legalization — will not make meaningful differences in current toxic practices. Jurisdictions that have enacted these changes still lock up far too many Americans, a disproportionate number of whom are Americans of color.</p> <p>What's missing are policy reforms, proposed or enacted, that lead to institutional changes that are fundamental -- could say radical, in the sense that they address the "root" of the problem -- and significantly cut into the currently unchecked power of police and prosecutors.</p> <p>One such step would involve repealing mandatory sentencing laws. It was the notorious Rockefeller Drug Laws -- enacted in New York in 1973, requiring a minimum prison term of 15 years (up to life) for the sale of 1 ounce or possession of 2 ounces of a hard drug -- that jump started the extraordinary expansion in imprisonment in the United States that we dub the "mass incarceration" movement. Eventually every state in the country and the federal government passed mandatory sentencing statutes, and the number of incarcerated Americans went from about 300,000 in the early 1970s to about 2.4 million today.</p> <p>Abolishing these laws and restoring judicial discretion would substantially reduce the power of district attorneys to control case outcomes. Inevitably, courts would imprison a much smaller proportion of the people who the police funnel into the system.</p> <p>Police practices are the most compelling factor driving the system's stark racial bias, especially in our nation's large cities. Jails hold mainly black and brown people because police arrest mainly black and brown people. Visit our city's arraignment courts where arrests are processed and a white defendant is a rare sight. On Rikers Island over 90% of the people locked up are non-white, there for two main reasons: they are too poor to afford bail and a NYPD officer has arrested them. Simply put, we cannot uproot the racism plaguing our justice system without drastically changing deeply discriminatory police practices.</p> <p>Abusive police practices are firmly entrenched and long-standing -- New York City’s early civic leaders, for example, established the NYPD in 1845, expecting it to control and contain two unruly groups new to the city: recent Irish immigrants and free black people ("free" because the state abolished slavery in 1827). Modest modifications, like issuing criminal summonses instead of arresting people and implicit bias training, won't do. The changes must cut into the police's absolute power, which, after all, corrupts absolutely, to end persistent ways officers violate certain Americans' rights and well-being.</p> <p>Specific examples include: ending quotas that pressure officers to make unnecessary arrests and stopping "broken windows" tactics targeting poor people of color for infractions virtually ignored in white communities; eliminating arenas of responsibility police now have that are better addressed by social services like school safety, sex work, homelessness, and mental health; and substantially cutting police budgets and personnel.</p> <p>In September 1955, &nbsp;after learning that an all-white Mississippi jury acquitted the men who tortured and killed Emmett Till, Chester Himes, a novelist based in Harlem, commented: "The real horror comes when your dead brain must face the fact that we as a nation don't want it to stop. If we wanted to, we would." Now, as was true 64 years ago when Till's murderers went free, no mainstream politician will back the "radical" measures needed to end biased and abusive policing. Few, if any, will call for repealing mandatory sentencing laws -- all too electorally risky.</p> <p>But if our leaders want to move beyond hand-ringing expressions of moral concern about our justice system's inhumane practices, if they want to fulfill our nation's founding "justice for all" promise, they, or, perhaps, even just one of them, will come forward and, in response to Mr. Himes' plaint, state: "Now we will."</p> <p>***<br />Bob Gangi is the director of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/GangiFromProp" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GangiFromPROP</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/pol-comm-medal.jpg" alt="pol comm medal" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Spencer T Tucker/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>Many justice reformers welcome increased political support for constructive systemic changes. New York state government, for example, recently enacted reforms aimed at restricting the use of cash bail and reducing misdemeanor arrests. Many Democratic presidential candidates pointedly decry mass incarceration and our "broken" criminal justice system.</p> <p>The most positive feature of this shifting landscape is the moral concern that it reflects, the relatively new recognition among pundits, politicians, and broader public that our criminal justice system is marked by a stark racial bias and that it undeniably violates our nation's core principle of, as Thomas Jefferson put it, providing "equal and exact justice" for all people.</p> <p>What's missing, though, is certainty that all the attention will lead to meaningful changes in on-the-ground practices.</p> <p>For instance, New York’s bail law includes significant exceptions regarding who can benefit from its provisions: judges can still set cash bail for New Yorkers with open warrants and with failures to appear in their histories. That’s many thousands of people.</p> <p>Plus, and this point applies to all the reforms enacted, the agencies mainly responsible for the system’s current abuses, district attorneys and police, are still in power. They are in charge of implementing the changes and have ways at their disposal, overcharging being the most handy, to undermine them if they so choose.</p> <p>Also, none of the Democratic presidential candidates who engage in indignant rhetoric on the issue have presented the kind of specific steps needed to reverse mass incarceration and to end systemic racism. We know from research and experience that the typical proposals that they and other mainstream politicians offer — body cameras, community policing, increased diversity, even marijuana legalization — will not make meaningful differences in current toxic practices. Jurisdictions that have enacted these changes still lock up far too many Americans, a disproportionate number of whom are Americans of color.</p> <p>What's missing are policy reforms, proposed or enacted, that lead to institutional changes that are fundamental -- could say radical, in the sense that they address the "root" of the problem -- and significantly cut into the currently unchecked power of police and prosecutors.</p> <p>One such step would involve repealing mandatory sentencing laws. It was the notorious Rockefeller Drug Laws -- enacted in New York in 1973, requiring a minimum prison term of 15 years (up to life) for the sale of 1 ounce or possession of 2 ounces of a hard drug -- that jump started the extraordinary expansion in imprisonment in the United States that we dub the "mass incarceration" movement. Eventually every state in the country and the federal government passed mandatory sentencing statutes, and the number of incarcerated Americans went from about 300,000 in the early 1970s to about 2.4 million today.</p> <p>Abolishing these laws and restoring judicial discretion would substantially reduce the power of district attorneys to control case outcomes. Inevitably, courts would imprison a much smaller proportion of the people who the police funnel into the system.</p> <p>Police practices are the most compelling factor driving the system's stark racial bias, especially in our nation's large cities. Jails hold mainly black and brown people because police arrest mainly black and brown people. Visit our city's arraignment courts where arrests are processed and a white defendant is a rare sight. On Rikers Island over 90% of the people locked up are non-white, there for two main reasons: they are too poor to afford bail and a NYPD officer has arrested them. Simply put, we cannot uproot the racism plaguing our justice system without drastically changing deeply discriminatory police practices.</p> <p>Abusive police practices are firmly entrenched and long-standing -- New York City’s early civic leaders, for example, established the NYPD in 1845, expecting it to control and contain two unruly groups new to the city: recent Irish immigrants and free black people ("free" because the state abolished slavery in 1827). Modest modifications, like issuing criminal summonses instead of arresting people and implicit bias training, won't do. The changes must cut into the police's absolute power, which, after all, corrupts absolutely, to end persistent ways officers violate certain Americans' rights and well-being.</p> <p>Specific examples include: ending quotas that pressure officers to make unnecessary arrests and stopping "broken windows" tactics targeting poor people of color for infractions virtually ignored in white communities; eliminating arenas of responsibility police now have that are better addressed by social services like school safety, sex work, homelessness, and mental health; and substantially cutting police budgets and personnel.</p> <p>In September 1955, &nbsp;after learning that an all-white Mississippi jury acquitted the men who tortured and killed Emmett Till, Chester Himes, a novelist based in Harlem, commented: "The real horror comes when your dead brain must face the fact that we as a nation don't want it to stop. If we wanted to, we would." Now, as was true 64 years ago when Till's murderers went free, no mainstream politician will back the "radical" measures needed to end biased and abusive policing. Few, if any, will call for repealing mandatory sentencing laws -- all too electorally risky.</p> <p>But if our leaders want to move beyond hand-ringing expressions of moral concern about our justice system's inhumane practices, if they want to fulfill our nation's founding "justice for all" promise, they, or, perhaps, even just one of them, will come forward and, in response to Mr. Himes' plaint, state: "Now we will."</p> <p>***<br />Bob Gangi is the director of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/GangiFromProp" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GangiFromPROP</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
How to Address Anti-Semitism in New York City, and Beyond 2019-06-04T04:00:00+00:00 2019-06-04T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8568-how-to-effectively-address-anti-semitism-in-new-york-city-and-beyond Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/mayor-bdb-crimes.jpg" alt="mayor bdb crimes" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed and Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Like so many Jews, we are horrified and dismayed at <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/05/09/police-in-brooklyn-investigate-2-anti-semitic-hate-crimes-in-past-week/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the recent attacks on visibly Jewish people in New York City,</a> in particular Hasidic and Haredi men. Anti-Semitic violence <a href="https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-anti-defamation-league-anti-semitism-20190429-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is on the upswing</a> in the U.S. and in our city.</p> <p><a href="https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/in-2019-more-than-half-of-reported-hate-crimes-were-anti-jewish-says-nypd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The NYPD reported 145 hate crimes</a> between January and April; 82 of those incidents, 57%, were anti-Jewish. <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/05/02/nypd-crime-stats-hate-crimes-anti-semitic-crimes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hate crimes in general rose 67%</a> in the first quarter of this year, and anti-Semitic hate crimes in particular increased by 82% over a similar period last year. White Christian nationalist violence, <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/news/2019/02/19/hate-groups-reach-record-high" target="_blank" rel="noopener">stoked by the election of Donald Trump,</a> is on the rise —&nbsp;from New Zealand to New York.</p> <p>This trend is unacceptable, but we can’t arrest or guard our way to real safety — the solution lies with communities.</p> <p>Between attacks on Jewish people on the streets of New York, and the murders of Jews in our synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, we know that we need to address security concerns in a new way. So we understand why 39 members of the New York City Council, led by members of the Council’s Jewish Caucus, recently <a href="https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/council-urging-mayor-to-fund-security-for-houses-of-worship/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">signed a letter</a> urging Mayor de Blasio to use city funds to pay for armed, off-duty NYPD officers to guard houses of worship.</p> <p>We all want to feel safe, especially in our churches, synagogues, and mosques, but city-funded armed police guards actually make some of us less safe, and cause many Jewish people of color, especially black Jews, <a href="https://www.heyalma.com/as-a-black-jew-im-begging-you-dont-arm-your-synagogue/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to feel unwelcome in Jewish institutions</a>. The truth is, policing cannot solve our problems — we will never arrest our way out of anti-Semitism.</p> <p>As the city struggles to find money to deal with crises in homelessness, public housing, education, and more, paying cops to be security guards represents a back-door source of additional funding for the NYPD. This only escalates New York’s dramatic over-investment in the security state, <a href="https://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Freedom%20To%20Thrive,%20Higher%20Res%20Version.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">instead of investing in our future.</a></p> <p>We refuse to downplay the profound threat of anti-Semitic violence, or to dismiss the real fear and pain our community feels in this moment; yet we believe that there is a better way for the Jewish community to protect itself: by preventing hate violence in the first place. Armed guards are not a panacea — data show that the presence of police <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/03/01/for-many-mass-shooters-armed-guards-arent-a-deterrent-theyre-part-of-the-fantasy/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.40dd9f700a2c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">can actually attract shooters,</a> and that, <a href="https://prospect.org/article/why-are-police-shootings-innocents-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">too often</a>, <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/just-how-many-bystanders-did-new-york-police-shoot/324299/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police officers shoot bystanders</a> in response to an attack, increasing the bloodshed rather than preventing it. In addition, arresting a suspect after an incident does not address the underlying tensions and ideologies that lead to hate violence; and increased penalties for hate crimes are unlikely to deter assailants from committing acts of violence.</p> <p>Further, because communities of color are systematically overpoliced, a response to hate violence that emphasizes policing will inevitably have a negative impact on those communities, and reinforce the racist narrative that black people are more responsible for anti-Semitism than white Christians and other groups. (<a href="https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/in-2019-more-than-half-of-reported-hate-crimes-were-anti-jewish-says-nypd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to the NYPD’s own statistics,</a> of the 69 anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2018 that resulted in an arrest, 40 of the alleged perpetrators were white, while 25 were black; nationally, from 2009–2018, <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/homegrown-terrorists-2018-were-almost-all-right-wing/581284/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">73% of all fatalities by violent extremists</a> were caused by right wing actors.)</p> <p>If we want to focus on prevention in New York City, the best approach is the <a href="https://jfrej.org/jfrej-leads-bold-hate-violence-prevention-initiative/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hate Violence Prevention Initiative</a> that a coalition of Jewish, Arab, LGBTQ, and immigrant community organizations have presented to the New York City Council. The communities that these groups represent share a mutual interest in standing up to hate-motivated violence and white nationalism. All of us understand that hate violence and bias incidents can only be prevented <em>in</em> local communities, <em>by</em> local communities — not by police or prosecutors.</p> <p>We need approaches that <em>prevent</em> violence through <a href="https://jfrej.org/understanding-antisemitism/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">education</a> and community-building, <em>interrupt</em> violence through community-based upstander/bystander trainings and rapid response at the local level, and <em>repair</em> damage through restorative justice, counseling, and peer-support. We oppose <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPDDetectives/status/1100916334089699328?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1100916334089699328&amp;ref_url=https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/02/27/queens-rego-park-swastika-anti-semitic-graffiti-arrest/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“zero tolerance”</a> policies — an approach that is geared toward impressive sound bites, not effective hate violence reduction.</p> <p>The Hate Violence Prevention Initiative will fund preventative education, restorative justice, upstander/bystander intervention trainings, and rapid response within communities when an incident has occurred.</p> <blockquote> <p><em>"As a Jew of color, the initiative's focus on restorative justice also works better to provide safety for my community and all Jews, not only white Jews. A police presence outside a house of worship puts black Jews in danger." —co-author Arielle Korman</em></p> </blockquote> <p>If we are serious about confronting the rise in hate crimes, we need an approach led by organizations in affected communities that is designed to confront the white supremacist ideology and anti-Semitic ideas fueling those crimes, and to ease the intra-communal tensions that surface them.</p> <p>Up until now, the city has profoundly under-funded this type of approach. The dominant response to all hate violence incidents has been to call for increased policing and the filing of hate-crimes charges. We can do better. The recent <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/02/27/queens-rego-park-swastika-anti-semitic-graffiti-arrest/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrest of a 12-year-old</a> for chalking swastikas on a school playground demonstrates just how far we are from a targeted and proportional response that is likely to reduce hate violence in the future.</p> <p>We find the rise in attacks on Jews terrifying but we know we’re not alone. We are inspired by the <a href="https://www.jta.org/2018/10/27/united-states/mass-killing-pittsburgh-havdalah-defiance-attracts-jews-non-jews" target="_blank" rel="noopener">outpouring of care and solidarity from our neighbors</a> when incidents of hate violence occur, and we are proud of <a href="https://forward.com/news/361479/at-jfk-protest-against-muslim-ban-cries-of-never-again/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the ways</a> that <a href="https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2017/06/218690/muslim-jews-shared-iftar-new-york/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many Jews</a> have <a href="https://newpulpcity.com/2017/01/26/hate-free-zone-rally-galvanizes-kensingtons-anti-trump-movement/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shown up</a> for <a href="https://vimeo.com/113727918" target="_blank" rel="noopener">others in these difficult times.</a></p> <p>For better or for worse, many of New York’s communities have a stake in standing up to right-wing, white nationalist ideology and the violence that it inspires. We believe that the only effective response to hate violence is one that cuts these ideas off at the root, and that binds together all of the communities impacted by bigotry — not one that pits us against each other.</p> <p>***<br />Martha A. Ackelsberg is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emerita of Government and Professor Emerita of the Study of Women &amp; Gender, an author, and a member leader at Jews For Racial &amp; Economic Justice (JFREJ). Arielle Korman is a graduate student at Columbia University, a cultural organizer, a member leader at JFREJ, and a co-founder of JFREJ’s Jews of Color Torah Academy.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/mayor-bdb-crimes.jpg" alt="mayor bdb crimes" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed and Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Like so many Jews, we are horrified and dismayed at <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/05/09/police-in-brooklyn-investigate-2-anti-semitic-hate-crimes-in-past-week/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the recent attacks on visibly Jewish people in New York City,</a> in particular Hasidic and Haredi men. Anti-Semitic violence <a href="https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-anti-defamation-league-anti-semitism-20190429-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is on the upswing</a> in the U.S. and in our city.</p> <p><a href="https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/in-2019-more-than-half-of-reported-hate-crimes-were-anti-jewish-says-nypd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The NYPD reported 145 hate crimes</a> between January and April; 82 of those incidents, 57%, were anti-Jewish. <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/05/02/nypd-crime-stats-hate-crimes-anti-semitic-crimes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hate crimes in general rose 67%</a> in the first quarter of this year, and anti-Semitic hate crimes in particular increased by 82% over a similar period last year. White Christian nationalist violence, <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/news/2019/02/19/hate-groups-reach-record-high" target="_blank" rel="noopener">stoked by the election of Donald Trump,</a> is on the rise —&nbsp;from New Zealand to New York.</p> <p>This trend is unacceptable, but we can’t arrest or guard our way to real safety — the solution lies with communities.</p> <p>Between attacks on Jewish people on the streets of New York, and the murders of Jews in our synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, we know that we need to address security concerns in a new way. So we understand why 39 members of the New York City Council, led by members of the Council’s Jewish Caucus, recently <a href="https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/council-urging-mayor-to-fund-security-for-houses-of-worship/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">signed a letter</a> urging Mayor de Blasio to use city funds to pay for armed, off-duty NYPD officers to guard houses of worship.</p> <p>We all want to feel safe, especially in our churches, synagogues, and mosques, but city-funded armed police guards actually make some of us less safe, and cause many Jewish people of color, especially black Jews, <a href="https://www.heyalma.com/as-a-black-jew-im-begging-you-dont-arm-your-synagogue/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to feel unwelcome in Jewish institutions</a>. The truth is, policing cannot solve our problems — we will never arrest our way out of anti-Semitism.</p> <p>As the city struggles to find money to deal with crises in homelessness, public housing, education, and more, paying cops to be security guards represents a back-door source of additional funding for the NYPD. This only escalates New York’s dramatic over-investment in the security state, <a href="https://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Freedom%20To%20Thrive,%20Higher%20Res%20Version.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">instead of investing in our future.</a></p> <p>We refuse to downplay the profound threat of anti-Semitic violence, or to dismiss the real fear and pain our community feels in this moment; yet we believe that there is a better way for the Jewish community to protect itself: by preventing hate violence in the first place. Armed guards are not a panacea — data show that the presence of police <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/03/01/for-many-mass-shooters-armed-guards-arent-a-deterrent-theyre-part-of-the-fantasy/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.40dd9f700a2c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">can actually attract shooters,</a> and that, <a href="https://prospect.org/article/why-are-police-shootings-innocents-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">too often</a>, <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/just-how-many-bystanders-did-new-york-police-shoot/324299/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police officers shoot bystanders</a> in response to an attack, increasing the bloodshed rather than preventing it. In addition, arresting a suspect after an incident does not address the underlying tensions and ideologies that lead to hate violence; and increased penalties for hate crimes are unlikely to deter assailants from committing acts of violence.</p> <p>Further, because communities of color are systematically overpoliced, a response to hate violence that emphasizes policing will inevitably have a negative impact on those communities, and reinforce the racist narrative that black people are more responsible for anti-Semitism than white Christians and other groups. (<a href="https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/in-2019-more-than-half-of-reported-hate-crimes-were-anti-jewish-says-nypd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to the NYPD’s own statistics,</a> of the 69 anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2018 that resulted in an arrest, 40 of the alleged perpetrators were white, while 25 were black; nationally, from 2009–2018, <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/homegrown-terrorists-2018-were-almost-all-right-wing/581284/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">73% of all fatalities by violent extremists</a> were caused by right wing actors.)</p> <p>If we want to focus on prevention in New York City, the best approach is the <a href="https://jfrej.org/jfrej-leads-bold-hate-violence-prevention-initiative/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hate Violence Prevention Initiative</a> that a coalition of Jewish, Arab, LGBTQ, and immigrant community organizations have presented to the New York City Council. The communities that these groups represent share a mutual interest in standing up to hate-motivated violence and white nationalism. All of us understand that hate violence and bias incidents can only be prevented <em>in</em> local communities, <em>by</em> local communities — not by police or prosecutors.</p> <p>We need approaches that <em>prevent</em> violence through <a href="https://jfrej.org/understanding-antisemitism/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">education</a> and community-building, <em>interrupt</em> violence through community-based upstander/bystander trainings and rapid response at the local level, and <em>repair</em> damage through restorative justice, counseling, and peer-support. We oppose <a href="https://twitter.com/NYPDDetectives/status/1100916334089699328?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1100916334089699328&amp;ref_url=https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/02/27/queens-rego-park-swastika-anti-semitic-graffiti-arrest/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“zero tolerance”</a> policies — an approach that is geared toward impressive sound bites, not effective hate violence reduction.</p> <p>The Hate Violence Prevention Initiative will fund preventative education, restorative justice, upstander/bystander intervention trainings, and rapid response within communities when an incident has occurred.</p> <blockquote> <p><em>"As a Jew of color, the initiative's focus on restorative justice also works better to provide safety for my community and all Jews, not only white Jews. A police presence outside a house of worship puts black Jews in danger." —co-author Arielle Korman</em></p> </blockquote> <p>If we are serious about confronting the rise in hate crimes, we need an approach led by organizations in affected communities that is designed to confront the white supremacist ideology and anti-Semitic ideas fueling those crimes, and to ease the intra-communal tensions that surface them.</p> <p>Up until now, the city has profoundly under-funded this type of approach. The dominant response to all hate violence incidents has been to call for increased policing and the filing of hate-crimes charges. We can do better. The recent <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/02/27/queens-rego-park-swastika-anti-semitic-graffiti-arrest/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrest of a 12-year-old</a> for chalking swastikas on a school playground demonstrates just how far we are from a targeted and proportional response that is likely to reduce hate violence in the future.</p> <p>We find the rise in attacks on Jews terrifying but we know we’re not alone. We are inspired by the <a href="https://www.jta.org/2018/10/27/united-states/mass-killing-pittsburgh-havdalah-defiance-attracts-jews-non-jews" target="_blank" rel="noopener">outpouring of care and solidarity from our neighbors</a> when incidents of hate violence occur, and we are proud of <a href="https://forward.com/news/361479/at-jfk-protest-against-muslim-ban-cries-of-never-again/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the ways</a> that <a href="https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2017/06/218690/muslim-jews-shared-iftar-new-york/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many Jews</a> have <a href="https://newpulpcity.com/2017/01/26/hate-free-zone-rally-galvanizes-kensingtons-anti-trump-movement/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shown up</a> for <a href="https://vimeo.com/113727918" target="_blank" rel="noopener">others in these difficult times.</a></p> <p>For better or for worse, many of New York’s communities have a stake in standing up to right-wing, white nationalist ideology and the violence that it inspires. We believe that the only effective response to hate violence is one that cuts these ideas off at the root, and that binds together all of the communities impacted by bigotry — not one that pits us against each other.</p> <p>***<br />Martha A. Ackelsberg is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emerita of Government and Professor Emerita of the Study of Women &amp; Gender, an author, and a member leader at Jews For Racial &amp; Economic Justice (JFREJ). Arielle Korman is a graduate student at Columbia University, a cultural organizer, a member leader at JFREJ, and a co-founder of JFREJ’s Jews of Color Torah Academy.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
Mass Gang Takedowns are Not ‘Doing Justice’ 2019-05-02T04:00:00+00:00 2019-05-02T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8498-mass-gang-takedowns-not-bharara-doing-justice-nypd Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/preet-bha-vitale2.jpg" alt="preet bha vitale2" width="600" height="378" /></p> <p>Preet Bharara (photo: @PennLaw)</p> <hr /> <p>Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has a new book entitled Doing Justice, which is designed to further establish his position within the “Trump Resistance” by playing up his commitment to the rule of law in the face of the politicized actions of the Trump Justice Department. In it he argues that there is no place for politics in the decisions about which cases to take on and how to prosecute them.</p> <p>"Certain norms do matter,” Bharara writes. “Our adversaries are not our enemies; the law is not a political weapon; objective truths do exist; fair process is essential in civilized society.”</p> <p>But this rhetoric of justice and legal formalism stands in sharp contrast to his role in prosecuting young people from the Bronx accused of being “the worst of the worst” as part of the Bronx 120 “gang takedown.”</p> <p>In 2016 the NYPD and a variety of federal agencies conducted the largest mass arrest of alleged gang members in New York City history, rounding up 120 individuals. Then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bharara undertook the prosecution of those cases using the broad powers of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. He alleged that these were hardened criminals who had created a vast criminal enterprise that was terrorizing their Bronx community.</p> <p>Those arrested faced severe felony charges that caused almost all of them to accept plea deals after being held without the possibility of bail for up to two years.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.bronx120.report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent study</a> of the outcomes of these 120 cases by CUNY Law Professor K. Babe Howell calls into question whether the interests of justice were served in these cases.</p> <p>Howell’s report documents that after three years of court proceedings, 80 of the 120 were not convicted of a violent crime, a third of the defendants spent between zero and two years in prison, and 35 of those arrested were only convicted based on conspiracy to sell marijuana. She also found that almost all the defendants were eligible for a public defender, suggesting that these defendants had no financial resources despite supposedly belonging to a major “criminal enterprise.”</p> <p>In fact, only around half of the defendants were ever even accused of being gang members. Nearly half of those arrested, including those facing the most serious charges, had already been convicted in state court for the same conduct; some were in prison or jail at the time of arrest.</p> <p>On the other hand, in one case, Kraig Lewis was arrested in another state while completing a master’s program. He was beating all the odds. He had studied hard through college, as a scholar-athlete, playing basketball, running track, and making the dean’s list. In 2013, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He decided to enroll in an MBA program, and was excelling at it, all while paying it back to his community. He coached a kids’ basketball team and created and organized a “Stop the Violence” basketball tournament aimed at raising awareness of gun violence in inner city communities. And through it all, he was raising a young son.</p> <p>In his final semester of grad school in 2016, on track to receive his MBA, Kraig was arrested in the Bronx 120 raid. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, headed by Bharara, argued that he should be detained without bail, even though he had no criminal record, and had never been in trouble. His classmates graduated, and walked the stage to receive their diplomas. Kraig sat in jail. His six-year-old son went to school without his dad to walk him there. He celebrated birthdays and milestones. He didn’t understand why his dad was gone.</p> <p>Kraig is out now. He was given a sentence of time served for conspiracy to distribute narcotics (marijuana). But his life is not the same. He remembers seeing a friend stabbed in the neck while he was in jail. He remembers missing his son’s birthdays. He remembers how full of potential his life was, before the arrest. Even though he completed his MBA program through another school while in jail, his future is not the same. Not with a felony conviction.</p> <p>These prosecutions were clearly political in nature. Bharara and then-NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton went to extensive lengths to demonize the people arrested in the Bronx 120 raid and presented the public a false narrative that this and other such raids are the way to make communities safer.</p> <p>Arresting large numbers of people because of their alleged involvement with marijuana dealing, re-arresting people already in prison to produce a show trial, and branding young people struggling to make a future for themselves with a felony record is not justice and it doesn’t create long-term safety for their communities.</p> <p>Bharara was confronted with the accusations Wednesday night at a Brennan Center event at NYU Law School by the moderator, Margaret Hoover of Firing Line on PBS. He responded that he acted on the advice of the NYPD, whose officials argued that this was the way to respond to an acute crisis of violent crime. He also pointed out that there was community support for some of the other raids he prosecuted in Westchester County.</p> <p>This defense doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue, and doesn’t match Bharara’s other rhetoric. Prosecutors are supposed to make independent assessments of what is going to produce real justice, not just take the word of the police or respond to the loudest voices in a community. And they certainly shouldn’t agree to broad-based sweeps as conspiracy indictments.</p> <p>Bharara himself admitted that criminal justice-led solutions, whether directed at violence or Wall Street corruption are unlikely to be successful on their own. We need a more holistic approach that understands the limits of deterrence-based strategies.</p> <p>This is exactly correct. Instead of relying on police to give us ever-larger groups of socially-networked defendants and putting them in prison for ever-longer sentences, we need to legalize marijuana, provide community-based violence reduction efforts such as Cure Violence, and invest in the lives of young people so that they have real pathways to economic self-sufficiency.</p> <p>Preet Bharara claims to be “doing justice,” so it is time for him to admit that these mass raids and RICO conspiracy cases are unjust and that those arrested should be given clemency.</p> <p>***<br />Alex S. Vitale is professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and the author of The End of Policing. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/avitale" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@avitale</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/preet-bha-vitale2.jpg" alt="preet bha vitale2" width="600" height="378" /></p> <p>Preet Bharara (photo: @PennLaw)</p> <hr /> <p>Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has a new book entitled Doing Justice, which is designed to further establish his position within the “Trump Resistance” by playing up his commitment to the rule of law in the face of the politicized actions of the Trump Justice Department. In it he argues that there is no place for politics in the decisions about which cases to take on and how to prosecute them.</p> <p>"Certain norms do matter,” Bharara writes. “Our adversaries are not our enemies; the law is not a political weapon; objective truths do exist; fair process is essential in civilized society.”</p> <p>But this rhetoric of justice and legal formalism stands in sharp contrast to his role in prosecuting young people from the Bronx accused of being “the worst of the worst” as part of the Bronx 120 “gang takedown.”</p> <p>In 2016 the NYPD and a variety of federal agencies conducted the largest mass arrest of alleged gang members in New York City history, rounding up 120 individuals. Then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bharara undertook the prosecution of those cases using the broad powers of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. He alleged that these were hardened criminals who had created a vast criminal enterprise that was terrorizing their Bronx community.</p> <p>Those arrested faced severe felony charges that caused almost all of them to accept plea deals after being held without the possibility of bail for up to two years.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.bronx120.report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent study</a> of the outcomes of these 120 cases by CUNY Law Professor K. Babe Howell calls into question whether the interests of justice were served in these cases.</p> <p>Howell’s report documents that after three years of court proceedings, 80 of the 120 were not convicted of a violent crime, a third of the defendants spent between zero and two years in prison, and 35 of those arrested were only convicted based on conspiracy to sell marijuana. She also found that almost all the defendants were eligible for a public defender, suggesting that these defendants had no financial resources despite supposedly belonging to a major “criminal enterprise.”</p> <p>In fact, only around half of the defendants were ever even accused of being gang members. Nearly half of those arrested, including those facing the most serious charges, had already been convicted in state court for the same conduct; some were in prison or jail at the time of arrest.</p> <p>On the other hand, in one case, Kraig Lewis was arrested in another state while completing a master’s program. He was beating all the odds. He had studied hard through college, as a scholar-athlete, playing basketball, running track, and making the dean’s list. In 2013, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He decided to enroll in an MBA program, and was excelling at it, all while paying it back to his community. He coached a kids’ basketball team and created and organized a “Stop the Violence” basketball tournament aimed at raising awareness of gun violence in inner city communities. And through it all, he was raising a young son.</p> <p>In his final semester of grad school in 2016, on track to receive his MBA, Kraig was arrested in the Bronx 120 raid. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, headed by Bharara, argued that he should be detained without bail, even though he had no criminal record, and had never been in trouble. His classmates graduated, and walked the stage to receive their diplomas. Kraig sat in jail. His six-year-old son went to school without his dad to walk him there. He celebrated birthdays and milestones. He didn’t understand why his dad was gone.</p> <p>Kraig is out now. He was given a sentence of time served for conspiracy to distribute narcotics (marijuana). But his life is not the same. He remembers seeing a friend stabbed in the neck while he was in jail. He remembers missing his son’s birthdays. He remembers how full of potential his life was, before the arrest. Even though he completed his MBA program through another school while in jail, his future is not the same. Not with a felony conviction.</p> <p>These prosecutions were clearly political in nature. Bharara and then-NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton went to extensive lengths to demonize the people arrested in the Bronx 120 raid and presented the public a false narrative that this and other such raids are the way to make communities safer.</p> <p>Arresting large numbers of people because of their alleged involvement with marijuana dealing, re-arresting people already in prison to produce a show trial, and branding young people struggling to make a future for themselves with a felony record is not justice and it doesn’t create long-term safety for their communities.</p> <p>Bharara was confronted with the accusations Wednesday night at a Brennan Center event at NYU Law School by the moderator, Margaret Hoover of Firing Line on PBS. He responded that he acted on the advice of the NYPD, whose officials argued that this was the way to respond to an acute crisis of violent crime. He also pointed out that there was community support for some of the other raids he prosecuted in Westchester County.</p> <p>This defense doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue, and doesn’t match Bharara’s other rhetoric. Prosecutors are supposed to make independent assessments of what is going to produce real justice, not just take the word of the police or respond to the loudest voices in a community. And they certainly shouldn’t agree to broad-based sweeps as conspiracy indictments.</p> <p>Bharara himself admitted that criminal justice-led solutions, whether directed at violence or Wall Street corruption are unlikely to be successful on their own. We need a more holistic approach that understands the limits of deterrence-based strategies.</p> <p>This is exactly correct. Instead of relying on police to give us ever-larger groups of socially-networked defendants and putting them in prison for ever-longer sentences, we need to legalize marijuana, provide community-based violence reduction efforts such as Cure Violence, and invest in the lives of young people so that they have real pathways to economic self-sufficiency.</p> <p>Preet Bharara claims to be “doing justice,” so it is time for him to admit that these mass raids and RICO conspiracy cases are unjust and that those arrested should be given clemency.</p> <p>***<br />Alex S. Vitale is professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and the author of The End of Policing. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/avitale" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@avitale</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
NYPD Watchdog Seeks Sharper Teeth Through Charter Revision 2018-07-30T04:00:00+00:00 2018-07-30T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7835-nypd-watchdog-seeks-sharper-teeth-through-charter-revision Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/ccrb-exec-director-twiter2.jpg" alt="ccrb exec director twiter2" width="600" height="524" /></p> <p>CCRB reps, including Jonathan Darche, middle (photo: @CCRB_NYC)</p> <hr /> <p>When the NYPD decided earlier this month to move ahead with its departmental trial against two officers involved in the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, it tasked the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent watchdog agency, with prosecuting the charges. But that prosecutorial authority has yet to be codified into the City Charter, the city’s central governing document, a change that CCRB officials are seeking through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s charter revision commission.</p> <p>In testimony last week before the charter revision commission, which will propose charter amendments to voters on the November Election Day ballot, the CCRB’s executive director, Jonathan Darche, urged commission members to consider expanding the board’s powers and solidifying its place in the city’s constitution.</p> <p>A 13-member body composed entirely of civilians, the CCRB investigates, and prosecutes, allegations of police misconduct, including complaints about use of force and abuse of power. The current iteration of the agency dates back to 1993 when the body was given subpoena power and the ability to make disciplinary recommendations after substantiating complaints against police officers.</p> <p>It was the CCRB last year that substantiated the complaints against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who held Eric Garner in a banned chokehold that led to his death. The CCRB recommended the highest possible penalty it can against Pantaleo -- charges and specifications, which are then prosecuted by CCRB lawyers in an administrative trial. Ultimately, the CCRB issues its recommendations to the police commissioner, who makes the final determination on a disciplinary proceeding.</p> <p>With the mayor’s charter revision commission close to concluding its work and announcing its proposals in early September, Darche testified at one of the commission’s hearings across the boroughs, on July 26 in Queens. Darche’s testimony follows on a letter sent by the CCRB to the charter commission in May, which enumerated the four proposed changes, which include codifying the Board’s Administrative Prosecution Unit (APU), which is handling the Pantaleo trial; enabling the board to give subpoena signatory power to the agency’s highest ranking staff; clarifying and expanding the NYPD’s duty to cooperate with CCRB requests for documentation and data; and amending the agency’s budget to equal one percent of the NYPD’s budget.</p> <p>Eric Phillips, a spokesperson for the mayor, declined to comment for this article. The NYPD did not respond to emails seeking comment. When Mayor de Blasio announced the charter revision commission in February he said he wanted it to focus on election and campaign finance reform, but it has heard testimony on a wide range of matters and is considering, as is its right, focus areas beyond the mayoral mandate.</p> <p>The most significant proposal put forward by the CCRB relates to the Administrative Prosecution Unit, which was created in 2012 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg through a <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ccrb/downloads/pdf/about_pdf/apu_mou.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)</a> with the NYPD. As is the case with Pantaleo, the APU handles prosecutions in cases with the strongest disciplinary recommendation. According to the CCRB, the unit has prosecuted officers in 367 trials since its creation.&nbsp;</p> <p>“As evidenced by the APU’s prosecution in the Garner case, the APU is a vital part of the disciplinary process for officers who commit misconduct,” Darche said during his testimony. “Amending the City Charter to codify the APU will ensure that this independent and effective tool for civilian oversight will continue.”</p> <p>Carolyn Martinez-Class, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform, a broad coalition of police reform advocates, welcomed the CCRB recommendations as “important initial proposals to improve police accountability and transparency generally,” in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “In order to be effective, the proposed change to codify the Administrative Prosecution Unit must also codify the original MOU's intent to make transparent instances when the Police Commissioner disagrees with CCRB recommendations so that those instances and rationale are made public as originally intended,” she added.</p> <p>Though the commission members asked no questions of Darche at the hearing in Queens, and police oversight has not been one of the main issues the commission is exploring, Darche will have another opportunity to push those proposals.</p> <p>The mayor’s commission is expected to put out its final report within weeks and will propose ballot measures for the November general election, but the New York City Council has created a separate charter revision commission, which convened for the first time earlier this month. That second commission -- which includes commissioners appointed by the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, City Council, and borough presidents -- is working with a longer timeline, aiming to put its proposals on the ballot in November 2019, allowing it ample time for a more holistic review of the charter.</p> <p>City Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of the public safety committee, said in a statement that he was “absolutely in support” of the CCRB’s proposals to the charter commission. “Increased transparency and accountability are essential to improving police-community relations and the CCRB should absolutely have a stronger presence in that process moving forward,” he said.</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/ccrb-exec-director-twiter2.jpg" alt="ccrb exec director twiter2" width="600" height="524" /></p> <p>CCRB reps, including Jonathan Darche, middle (photo: @CCRB_NYC)</p> <hr /> <p>When the NYPD decided earlier this month to move ahead with its departmental trial against two officers involved in the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, it tasked the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent watchdog agency, with prosecuting the charges. But that prosecutorial authority has yet to be codified into the City Charter, the city’s central governing document, a change that CCRB officials are seeking through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s charter revision commission.</p> <p>In testimony last week before the charter revision commission, which will propose charter amendments to voters on the November Election Day ballot, the CCRB’s executive director, Jonathan Darche, urged commission members to consider expanding the board’s powers and solidifying its place in the city’s constitution.</p> <p>A 13-member body composed entirely of civilians, the CCRB investigates, and prosecutes, allegations of police misconduct, including complaints about use of force and abuse of power. The current iteration of the agency dates back to 1993 when the body was given subpoena power and the ability to make disciplinary recommendations after substantiating complaints against police officers.</p> <p>It was the CCRB last year that substantiated the complaints against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who held Eric Garner in a banned chokehold that led to his death. The CCRB recommended the highest possible penalty it can against Pantaleo -- charges and specifications, which are then prosecuted by CCRB lawyers in an administrative trial. Ultimately, the CCRB issues its recommendations to the police commissioner, who makes the final determination on a disciplinary proceeding.</p> <p>With the mayor’s charter revision commission close to concluding its work and announcing its proposals in early September, Darche testified at one of the commission’s hearings across the boroughs, on July 26 in Queens. Darche’s testimony follows on a letter sent by the CCRB to the charter commission in May, which enumerated the four proposed changes, which include codifying the Board’s Administrative Prosecution Unit (APU), which is handling the Pantaleo trial; enabling the board to give subpoena signatory power to the agency’s highest ranking staff; clarifying and expanding the NYPD’s duty to cooperate with CCRB requests for documentation and data; and amending the agency’s budget to equal one percent of the NYPD’s budget.</p> <p>Eric Phillips, a spokesperson for the mayor, declined to comment for this article. The NYPD did not respond to emails seeking comment. When Mayor de Blasio announced the charter revision commission in February he said he wanted it to focus on election and campaign finance reform, but it has heard testimony on a wide range of matters and is considering, as is its right, focus areas beyond the mayoral mandate.</p> <p>The most significant proposal put forward by the CCRB relates to the Administrative Prosecution Unit, which was created in 2012 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg through a <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ccrb/downloads/pdf/about_pdf/apu_mou.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)</a> with the NYPD. As is the case with Pantaleo, the APU handles prosecutions in cases with the strongest disciplinary recommendation. According to the CCRB, the unit has prosecuted officers in 367 trials since its creation.&nbsp;</p> <p>“As evidenced by the APU’s prosecution in the Garner case, the APU is a vital part of the disciplinary process for officers who commit misconduct,” Darche said during his testimony. “Amending the City Charter to codify the APU will ensure that this independent and effective tool for civilian oversight will continue.”</p> <p>Carolyn Martinez-Class, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform, a broad coalition of police reform advocates, welcomed the CCRB recommendations as “important initial proposals to improve police accountability and transparency generally,” in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “In order to be effective, the proposed change to codify the Administrative Prosecution Unit must also codify the original MOU's intent to make transparent instances when the Police Commissioner disagrees with CCRB recommendations so that those instances and rationale are made public as originally intended,” she added.</p> <p>Though the commission members asked no questions of Darche at the hearing in Queens, and police oversight has not been one of the main issues the commission is exploring, Darche will have another opportunity to push those proposals.</p> <p>The mayor’s commission is expected to put out its final report within weeks and will propose ballot measures for the November general election, but the New York City Council has created a separate charter revision commission, which convened for the first time earlier this month. That second commission -- which includes commissioners appointed by the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, City Council, and borough presidents -- is working with a longer timeline, aiming to put its proposals on the ballot in November 2019, allowing it ample time for a more holistic review of the charter.</p> <p>City Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of the public safety committee, said in a statement that he was “absolutely in support” of the CCRB’s proposals to the charter commission. “Increased transparency and accountability are essential to improving police-community relations and the CCRB should absolutely have a stronger presence in that process moving forward,” he said.</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>