July 8, 2015, New York – In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing, today, of an executive order appointing a special prosecutor to investigate killings by police of unarmed civilians and with the discretion to investigate police killings of allegedly armed civilians, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
It is welcome news that a special prosecutor will investigate killings by police in New York. New Yorkers owe a huge debt to the families of those killed by police who fought so hard to make this happen. As a national reckoning on policing is taking place, the special prosecutor can be an important part of this broader effort. In New York City, that includes the Joint Remedial Process, a result of CCR’s stop-and-frisk case against the NYPD, Floyd v. City of New York, which is intended by the court to provide for substantive and meaningful input on reforms from directly affected communities. It also includes legislative efforts like the Right to Know Act, which would increase transparency and accountability in police encounters and reduce bias-based policing. With the right authority, the right resources, and the right person in the job, the special prosecutor can be another powerful tool to dismantle systemic discriminatory policing and curb police violence.
In August 2013, the Center for Constitutional Rights won a landmark ruling that found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices to be racially discriminatory and unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court appointed a monitor to oversee reforms, including a joint remedial process that is intended to solicit substantive input from directly-affected communities as well as other stakeholders.
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.