Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus Call for Policing Reform

NEW YORK, NY (May 28, 2020) – Over the last several days, Black Americans—and communities of color throughout New York State and the nation—have been emotionally exhausted by the consistent dehumanization of our people.

In New York City, we witnessed video of a white woman feigning fear of a Black man who simply requested she follow the law. Filing a false police report is a crime. Further, weaponizing the use of the police out of racial bias is racist and should be considered a hate crime in New York State. We are currently witnessing violence and unrest in Minneapolis after the brutal killing of George Floyd by now-fired police officers. And there are countless examples of state-sanctioned violence—namely against Black men—perpetuated by officers across the country, with a new horrible story reaching mainstream attention seemingly every day.

The Members of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus believe that we are long overdue for police reform in this country, and that New York State should take the lead. The trust between officers and communities of color has eroded, and nothing short of reform can begin to rebuild that trust.

In New York State, we have the opportunity to demand greater accountability from law enforcement and those who would seek to exploit them with racist intent. The Caucus has long-advocated for several measures that would bring equity and accountability to the way we police our towns and cities.

We demand support for and enactment of (1) legislation that would make it a hate crime to issue a false 9-1-1 complaint; (2) the repeal of 50-a which allows police officer misconduct to be shielded from public view; (3) legislation to codify the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute all criminal cases against law enforcement; (4) the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act; and (5) any and all legislation that would prohibit law enforcement from profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

We must seek accountability from our government if we are to maintain trust with the communities we represent. The lives, well-being, mental, emotional and physical health of our people demand nothing less; thus, we call on the Governor and all our partners in government to join us in supporting these measures.

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a sixty-two-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate.