May 31, 2020, New York – In response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s explicit defense of the NYPD’s use of violent and unjustified force against protesters, as well as the history of impunity for brutality and racist policing in NYC, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
That Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to this weekend’s shocking displays of racist police violence with anything less than horror and immediate action to hold the NYPD accountable indicates a complete abdication of responsibility towards the people of New York City. The mayor’s justification of police brutality, including the mowing down of protesters with police vehicles reminiscent of the depraved actions by white supremacists in Charlottesville, is unconscionable. Add to that his disregard for the rights of New Yorkers to protest for their very lives, and it is clear that he is fully committed to protecting police impunity.
In light of this weekend’s events, as well as the long history of NYPD violence, particularly against Black and brown New Yorkers, the Center for Constitutional Rights has no confidence that the racist police will reform itself, nor that the mayor will hold them accountable for ever-escalating brutality. Standing with the courageous people of New York, who despite a devastating pandemic are taking to the streets in rage, mourning, and righteous rebellion, we call on Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Shea to resign.
In a related matter, on Tuesday, in response to the NYPD’s continued racial discrimination, unconstitutional policing, and escalating violence against Black and brown New Yorkers during social distancing enforcement, the Center for Constitutional Rights joined co-counsel and partners in filing an emergency motion against the City of New York. Filed under the landmark stop-and-frisk case, Floyd vs. City of New York, the motion asks the court to direct the court-appointed monitor to halt the NYPD’s social distancing enforcement and conduct an investigation into the NYPD's social-distancing enforcement practices and report his findings to the parties, the court, and the public.
In addition, the Center for Constitutional Rights supports Communities United for Police Reform and its many member organizations’ calls for:
- Major cuts to the NYPD budget, #NYCBudgetJustice;
- The New York State legislature to reconvene and pass #Repeal50a, #PoliceSTATAct and other bills in the #SaferNYAct package (including DPA's marijuana legalization legislation); and
- The City Council to pass multiple priority bills with key amendments on police reporting of vehicle and traffic stops, consent searches, and level 1 and level 2 investigative encounters.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.