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26 Families Who've Lost Loved Ones To NYPD Urge Speaker, Council & Mayor to Pass How Many Stops Act

August 17, 2023


Mayor Eric Adams


Speaker Adrienne Adams & Members of the New York City Council


City Hall

New York, NY 10007

CC: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Council Member Alexa Aviles, Council Member Crystal Hudson, Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander


Dear Mayor Eric Adams, Speaker Adrienne Adams and Members of the New York City Council,


We, 26 grieving family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD, write this letter with the utmost urgency and an unwavering commitment to strengthening public safety to urge you to pass and sign into law the two bills of the How Many Stops Act (HMSA) - Intro 586 (sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilmember Alexa Aviles) and Intro 538 (sponsored by Councilmember Crystal Hudson at the request of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso) - without further delay. Passing the How Many Stops Act – without loopholes or carve outs – and signing both bills into law will give us true transparency into the NYPD’s most common interactions with New Yorkers and is a critical, non-negotiable step toward police accountability and true safety for Black, Latinx and other communities of color in our city.


Currently, the NYPD is only required to report on “level 3 stops”, commonly known as “stop-and-frisks”. This means there is no information about the vast majority of pedestrian stops and investigative encounters by the NYPD. The How Many Stops Act will remedy this by requiring comprehensive reporting on all street stops and investigative encounters, including where they happen, demographic information of the individuals stopped, the reasons for the encounters, and whether force, tickets, or arrests resulted from these interactions, as well as on the NYPD’s use of consent searches, stops during which an officer does not have probable cause to conduct a search and requests permission to do so. The data collected via these two bills is crucial for completing the picture of what policing really looks like in New York City.


As families who have experienced the irreplaceable loss of our loved ones at the hands of the NYPD over the last three decades, we have become steadfast advocates for police transparency and reform because we do not want more families to suffer as we do. All of us know what it is like to run up against a systemic lack of transparency in the NYPD as we have sought answers about our loved ones’ murders. Some of our loved ones, such as Eric Garner and Antonio Williams, were killed during unconstitutional, reasonable suspicion-less stops - the kinds of encounters HMSA will shed light on. The How Many Stops Act is not the only change we need to ensure an end to senseless deaths at the hands of the NYPD but is an absolutely essential step in the right direction.


In the last year and a half, the need for police transparency has accelerated. Despite a federal court finding the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional a decade ago, the department continues to engage in unlawful stops and searches that disproportionately impact Black and Latinx New Yorkers, especially men. The recent report from the NYPD's federal monitor, revealing an alarming rise in racially disparate and unconstitutional stops, emphasizes that HMSA's passage is more urgent than ever. Shedding light on all stops - including how often and where they happen and if they are motivated by racial profiling - will enable us to work together towards eradicating unnecessary and unconstitutional stops and prevent further violence and loss of life.


Speaker Adams, we thank you for committing to prioritizing the speedy passage of both How Many Stops Act bills at a meeting you had with some of us families and advocates in February. Mayor Adams, you also said you would support this legislation at a meeting you had with some of us families and advocates prior to taking office in November 2021. We are now calling on you to take action by immediately passing Intros 586 and 538 - without any carve outs or loopholes - and signing them into law.


Not requiring reporting on all NYPD street stops, investigative encounters and consent searches only serves to shield the NYPD from public scrutiny and perpetuate a culture of secrecy that ultimately protects abusive officers. In the age of smartphones, this kind of reporting “could be accomplished in a matter of seconds,” according to experts including Judge Ariel Belen, the facilitator for the stop-and-frisk civil suit. Any suggestion that this level of transparency would create a burden for officers is baseless and a distraction from the realities of abusive policing our communities live with every day.


Our communities deserve better. Passing the How Many Stops Act - without any loopholes or carve outs - must be a top priority for all city officials who care about public safety. Speaker Adams, we implore you to bring both bills of the How Many Stops Act to the City Council floor for a vote as soon as possible - at the September 14th stated meeting. Mayor Adams, we call on you to ensure there is no obstruction from the NYPD or the administration and immediately sign both bills into law once they are passed.


Please direct any responses to this letter to Chauvet Bishop(chauvet@justicecommittee.org), Justice Committee’s How Many Stops Act Organizer.


Sincerely,


  • Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bill (killed by NYPD in 2006)

  • William Bell, father of Sean Bell (killed by NYPD in 2006)

  • Ellisha Garner, sister of Eric Garner (killed by NYPD in 2014)

  • Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in 1994)

  • Mercy Baez, cousin of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in 1994)

  • Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo (killed by NYPD in 1999)

  • Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Gladys Williams, stepmother of Antonio Williams (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham (killed by NYPD in 2012)

  • Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Rickie Trawick, father of Kawaski Trawick (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Natasha Duncan, sister of Shantel Davis (killed by NYPD in 2012)

  • Angie Hicks, aunt of Shantel Davis, (killed by NYPD in 2012)

  • Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley (killed by NYPD in 2014)

  • Julie Floyd, sister of Ronald Anthony Smith (killed by NYPD in 2022)

  • Eric Vassell, father of Saheed Vassell (killed by NYPD in 2018)

  • Lorna Vassell, mother of Saheed Vassell (killed by NYPD in 2018)

  • Victor Dempsey, brother of Delrawn Small (killed by NYPD in 2016)

  • Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small (killed by NYPD in2016)

  • Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega (both killed by NYPD in 1995)

  • Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray (killed by NYPD in 2013)

  • Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah (killed by NYPD in 2012)

  • Joyce Huang, sister of Yong Xin Huang (killed by NYPD in 1995)

  • Qinglan Huang, sister of Yong Xin Huang (killed by NYPD in 1995)

  • Tomoko Suzuki, sister of Ryo Oyamada (killed by NYPD in 2013)

Families Who've Lost Loves Ones to NYPD Call for Passage of How Many Stops Act
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