Growing Movement for Police Accountability and Racial Justice Continues to Draw New Yorkers into the Streets and Intensify Pressure on Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton
New York, NY— To mark the 5 month anniversary of Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the NYPD, New Yorkers held die-ins citywide tonight in his honor and rose up on the streets for police accountability and reform. These events happened simultaneously in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx at 6 p.m., and are part of the highly coordinated #11Days of Action organized by #ThisStopsToday and Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).
New Yorkers from across the city participated and made their voices heard, including leaders and members of Make the Road New York, VOCAL-NY, Justice Committee, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, Picture the Homeless, New York Communities for Change, Drug Police Alliance, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Brotherhood/SisterSol, El Puente, and the Peace Poets.
The growing movement for police accountability and racial justice continues to intensify pressure on Mayor de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bratton, and other public officials to implement specific, concrete reforms to end abusive and discriminatory policing.
Those involved in #ThisStopsToday and Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) want elected officials to act on 11 key demands for the 11 times Eric Garner said, "I can’t breathe."
"For too long, there have been double standards in place for police officers involved in incidents of brutality and misconduct. New Yorkers have overwhelmingly come together in record-breaking numbers to say #ThisStopsToday. It's time to heed the calls for substantive policy change, including timely and meaningful accountability in order to begin restoring community trust in the NYPD. Police should protect lives, not endanger them,” said Priscilla Gonzalez, Director of Organizing of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).
"Five months ago, Eric Garner was killed by the NYPD, on camera, for the whole world to see. Despite this, none of the officers involved in his killing were indicted and five months later, we still find ourselves asking, 'where is the justice?' Today, in a collective, citywide die-in, we mourn all the lives lost to police violence and demand that all discriminatory and abusive policing stop today!," said Alyssa Aguilera, Political Director of VOCAL-NY.
"We are conducting these actions in honor of Eric Garner and to say, 'This stops today!," said Loyda Colon, Justice Committee Co-Director. "Like DA Donovan in Staten Island, DA Robert Johnson in the Bronx has continually failed to hold killer cops accountable. If District Attorneys cannot do their jobs, it's time for them to go. We need Governor Cuomo to sign the executive order called for by the Attorney General and then move quickly to pass permanent legislation to establish a special prosecutor for cases of police brutality."
"The Million Hoodies Movement for Justice is committed to the eradication of racial bias and police brutality throughout our justice system," said Million Hoodies Movement for Justice National Policy Director Pete Haviland-Eduah. "Our demonstrations, which stand in solidarity with those that have been marginalized because of the color of their skin are not just a moment in time, but part of a greater movement in our history to reform a justice system which does not work the same for everyone. We are committed to seeing this through until the credo 'Liberty and justice for all' rings true for all people."
"The police have criminalized me just for being homeless. The reason for actions like this is simple: we are tired of being bullied by cops that don't realize that homeless and Black lives matter. They've been corrupted by the power that they have, and they've been brainwashed into the erroneous notion that they are the top of the food chain. Of course, they are nothing more than Bill de Blasio's personal army, a pack of dogs that are pointed at us," said Chris Gardella, Picture the Homeless.
We're joining New Yorkers around the city to amplify the demand to end abusive and discriminatory policing practices. Today, we echo Eric Garner's statement this stops today. These destructive policies are breaking up families across the country with little accountability. We can build healthy and safe communities only when we place dignity and respect in the center of our policies and policing practices. This stops today," said Kassandra Frederique, New York Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance.
“Today, we join our fellow New Yorkers in raising awareness and our voices to end the abusive and discriminatory policing practices in our state. On the five-month anniversary of his passing, we echo Eric Garner's statement and demand that this stop today. We ask that our communities be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We will rise up for Latinos and immigrant communities all across the state who have been victims of police brutality. This stops today,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
"Today being the fifth month since Eric Garner's killing by Staten Island Officer Danny Panteleo and others, we challenge Mayor De Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton to end the Broken Windows Policy that not only lead to this but continues to criminalize our young people for enjoying their neighborhood. In this upcoming holiday season, justice is the best gift they can give to his grieving family and others who still have not received it," said Julien Terrell, Brotherhood/Sister Sol.
"El Puente's mission has and continues to be invested in elevating the voices of Youth Leaders in the movement toward Peace and Justice. This is an important time in our nation's history where we really need to keep our ears, minds, and hearts open to what the youth have to say about what real change looks like. Supporting and investing in their growth and agency is supporting and investing in a brighter future for us all," said Jana Lynne Umipig, El Puente.