SAFETY BEYOND POLICING STATEMENT - JULY 15, 2015
Dear Beloved Community,
Thank you for being a part of the Safety Beyond Policing #NoNewNYPD Campaign. Let’s remain committed and inspired to tell the world how our own communities define safety, which has nothing to do with policing, but rather with a stronger safety net and community investment after a history of disinvestment that has produced decades of racial disparities. Let’s continue to be motivated by love, justice and dignity. Even while the New York City Council including people who portrayed themselves as “progressive,” decided to champion funding not just 1,000 new police, but 1,300 new police – we can be proud that our communities came together in resistance and made space for this important conversation. We have shown integrity and honor – to our elders and ancestors, our communities, children and ourselves. We told the truth to and about Bill de Blasio, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the “Progressive Caucus” – all supporters of Chief Bill Bratton, the architect who first implemented the racist, morally bankrupt broken windows theory. We asked them to show and prove – and we have been shown when they talk about the movement for Black lives, they twist our words, demonize protestors, go on PR offensives and fail to deliver racial equity.
New Yorkers, Black and Brown, poor and working class, native and immigrant – have been the heart of this campaign. As the summer days wear on, our day-to-day concerns linger. This summer Black children and young people throughout the boroughs are deemed suspicious by cops for hanging out on their stoops, sidewalks or small yards on hot summer days. Heavy surveillance and occupation continues under the guise of what politicians and the NYPD deceitfully label “community policing.” Hanging out very publicly, visibly, unapologetically – is how Black and brown people live New York summers. While white and middle class gentrifiers enjoy outdoor cafes and rooftops, many of us don’t have options for back yards, front yards, rooftops, or even air conditioning. Politicians blatantly ignore the political will of Black and brown poor people in New York, and at the same time, they target us with increased policing.
A few million here and there have been allocated to some summer jobs and safety net issues – but nothing in the realm of the $170 million received by the NYPD. It is truly disgraceful. We will hold politicians and police officers accountable and join our brothers and sisters in calling for demilitarization and disarmament of the NYPD.
We will continue taking the truth to the people and will build support with our friends, neighbors, families and loved ones. We will resist. Community policing has killed Black women, children, men, trans women, homeless people -- we have no reason to put faith in the NYPD, we put our faith in our people. Our grief over so much loss of life will fuel us. We will organize because we have no other choice. We will remain because this is our City. We will call out white supremacy and liberalism in the North - it is the same virulent type that kills us in the Southern US and in the global South.
“COMMUNITY POLICING” IS A EUPHEMISM FOR MORE SURVEILLANCE
“Community Policing” is a euphemism for more surveillance; it does not guarantee our safety. Broken windows policing keeps immigrant New Yorkers in terror of law enforcement due to fear that any interaction with local police will lead to summonses, unaffordable fines, jail, or immigration detention. As a result, people are less likely to assert their rights when mistakenly stopped, harassed or racially profiled by police or when reporting police crimes or cooperating as witnesses, making it harder to ensure community safety.
NYPD IS THE 7TH LARGEST MILITARY IN THE WORLD
The NYPD is the 7th largest military in the world, it does not need 1K new cops. There is a national dialogue underway about de-militarizing the police. City officials must not play into the agenda of a militarized NYPD ahead of the community’s needs. We believe in holding people, organizations and elected officials accountable to our needs. Chief Bratton recently made the case for more cops with Pat Lynch asking for over 6,000 more boots on the ground. Bratton also said it would be “very helpful” if the state upped the penalty for resisting arrest (often a charge used to cover instances of brutality) to a class A felony. Protesting is a first amendment right and should not be criminalized.