New York, NY – Continued and systemic police misconduct and discriminatory tactics propelled under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has led to a surge of community organizing, united by the goal of fundamentally changing the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) approach to policing and public safety.
“The groundswell of opposition to discriminatory policing in New York City has been unprecedented,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange. “ColorOfChange members understand that a court order, and legislation are positive steps to reforming policing tactics, but we also have to address a culture of the NYPD that promotes racial bias and discrimination. If enough New Yorkers commit to getting involved, we can curb abusive police behavior that divides our city and makes innocent folks feel like criminals in their own neighborhoods.”
In the coming weeks there will likely be a decision in the federal class action lawsuit, Floyd v. City of New York, that could signal an end to racial profiling and suspicion-less Stop and Frisks. The NYC Council is also slated to vote on an omnibus package of critical legislation, the Community Safety Act, that would reform the NYPD. Both the lawsuit and the pending legislation could lead to massive shifts in NYPD’s policing tactics.
“Every week thousands of mostly, Black and brown New Yorkers who are innocent of any wrongdoing fall victim to discriminatory policing tactics. Studies have shown that, this type of police misconduct is harmful to public safety and trust because impacted community members are less inclined to report crime due to the frayed relationship with police," said Rashad Robinson. "The NYPD tells New Yorkers 'if you see something, say something'. Likewise, Cop Watch NYC encourages New Yorkers to say something, every time they see a police officer engaged in unprofessional behavior, misconduct or discrimination."
ColorOfChange.org, Peoples’ Justice and Communities United for Police Reform have joined together to provide New Yorkers with an important organizing tool against police violence, brutality and discrimination. The new community-based website, CopWatchNYC.org, will empower community members to safely and legally monitor and expose police misconduct and discrimination by encouraging New Yorkers to actively observe and film police encounters to hold officers accountable.
"Community members' trust of police has been violated due to millions of unlawful and deeply humiliating stops. In many cases, these stops even escalate to serious injury or death. Even when there are eyewitness accounts of police harassment, discrimination, violence and misconduct, it’s often the officers’ word against, the communities. But If enough New Yorkers prepare, get organized, and learn how to safely and legally monitor police -- they'll be less likely to harass and abuse innocent folks." Concluded Robinson.
ABOUT COLOR OF CHANGE
ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America's political voice. Our goal is to empower our members - Black Americans and our allies - to make government and corporations more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.
ABOUT PEOPLES’ JUSTICE: Peoples’ Justice for Community Control and Police Accountability
(PJ) is a New York City coalition of grassroots organizations working in Black, Latino, Asian and LGBT communities. The coalition was formed in the wake of the 2006 New York City Police Department killing of Sean Bell and shooting of Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman in order to respond to the incident and hi-light the systemic nature of police violence. PJ coordinates a Cop Watch Alliance, which brings together Cop Watch teams from across NYC to share experiences and best practices, pool resources, and help build a citywide “culture of Cop Watch.” The leading organizations of the coalition include CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Justice Committee and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
ABOUT COMMUNITIES UNITED FOR POLICE REFORM
Communities United for Police Reform is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. This groundbreaking campaign is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.
With more than 850,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.