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Chinnor Campbell Charter Revision Commission Hearing Testimony

Chinnor Campbell

Charter Revision Commission Hearing Testimony


My name is Chinnor Campbell. I’m a student at the University of Mount Saint Vincent. I’m also the younger brother of Ramarley Graham, who was killed in front of me and my grandmother, in our home by the NYPD in 2012 when I was just 6 years old .

I’m here today because even though lots of people don’t want to vote, next year is the election year for the mayor's seat and I want to bring that to light because he is using the undemocratic charter revision process to expand the NYPD’s power instead of focusing on protecting the people he was elected to represent. Adams seems to be using this last minute process as a way to silence the people and their voices and my statement to everyone is if the person who is supposed to represent us is not doing that we need to vote and represent ourselves. 

When my brother was murdered, stop-and-frisk was at an all time high. Now, under Mayor Eric Adams, stop-and-frisk is on the rise again and at the highest it's been in almost a decade. 

These days I see more and more officers harassing people in neighborhoods. There are more and more cops in the subways. None of this really helps to increase safety for New Yorkers.

That’s why I joined 27 other family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD in endorsing the How Many Stops Act.  

It’s also why I’m urging Commission members not to use this process to make it harder for New Yorkers to pass police reform laws. It’s already really difficult for us to pass anything that touches on police transparency or accountability because the NYPD already has too much power over the legislative process and in public affairs.

The How Many Stops Act went through a rigorous, democratic process, in which there was significant public input and the bills were even held up to make time for negotiation between communities, the Council and the administration, including the NYPD. In contrast, this charter revision process is rushed and politically motivated to block the Council’s “advice and consent law” from going on the ballot.  The process for this charter revision is being rushed into just 7 weeks from when you held your first hearing to when commissioners will vote on what will be on the November ballot. You’re scheduled to vote in two weeks but you still haven’t shared the final language with the public. There’s no need for that kind of rush unless this is a biased, rigged process. 

In fact, I heard that - at a hearing last month - two other family members of New Yorkers who were killed by the NYPD got muted before they could even finish their sentences. It seems like this happened because they were raising concerns, when people who were just repeating the mayor and NYPD’s lines were allowed to go over time to finish their comments.

All of this makes it seem that this process is about the Mayor trying to grab even more power – when it should be about improving things for New Yorkers. I’m urging you, the Commission, to recognize this and to not put any so-called “public safety” measures or any other measures on the November ballot. Just leave it alone.

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