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Know Your Rights
Category: Police Accountability

Our deepest solidarity with the Nichols family

Like so many people across the country, we have spent the past week grieving the murder of Tyre Nichols by six police officers in Memphis. Yet again, we see a Black person–a beloved son, brother, father, skateboarder, and photographer–victimized by wanton police violence. His murder was not a product of ‘bad apples,’ but of a system that encourages officers to brutalize civilians with impunity.

As we express our solidarity with the Nichols family and those grieving in Memphis, we keep asking: how many Tyre Nichols must we mourn because of police violence? Incidents like this have also plagued our own city and state. We have seen fellow New Yorkers like Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Delrawn Small, Akai Gurley, Kimani Gray, and many more perish from police brutality–with virtually no accountability.

At the same time, we have a Mayor and Governor who are redoubling their efforts to ramp up spending on policing while cutting vital services for our communities. Deadly violence by police will not be stopped by spending more money on policing–as we’ve seen, body cameras, training, diversity and so-called community policing do not stop the bloodshed.

As our city and state leaders look at how they should respond to this moment, we know their responses must include:

  • Reducing the budget, size, scope and power of the NYPD and move money from policing into public and community-based programs and services for Black, Latinx, and other communities of color that will build real safety in communities;
  • Disbanding particularly abusive units like New York City’s newly resurrected Street Crimes Units (aka Neighborhood Safety Teams), Strategic Response Group and VICE;
  • Removing police from schools, mental health, and homeless services;
  • Advancing immediate discipline for officers who have engaged in misconduct, who brutalize or kill New Yorkers;
  • Ensuring NYPD compliance with key accountability legislation including the Police STAT Act, Right to Know Act, and Community Safety Act and strengthen police transparency and accountability measures at every level of government; and
  • Investing in Black and brown communities that bear the brunt of racially-disparate and abusive policing.

New York must reduce the outsized influence that police play in our day to day lives and take action on police accountability, both at a systemic level and in specific incidents of police violence.