In response to Governor Cuomo calling on the NYPD to be “more aggressive” in its enforcement of social distancing rules, the Justice Committee released the following statement from Co-Director Loyda Colon:
We are outraged that Governor Cuomo has called for the NYPD to be “more aggressive” in its enforcement of social distancing rules. Given the NYPD's decades-long history of abusive over-policing of low-income communities of color with zero accountability, we know that these same communities will bear the brunt of disparate, aggressive social distancing enforcement. Homeless New Yorkers, youth, workers, immigrants, and others with increased vulnerability to criminalization and/or infection will get it the worst.
We are in the midst of a public health crisis that needs a public health solution. Social distancing should be enforced through public education and by meeting New Yorkers’ needs for housing, healthcare, and economic support to enable them to stay home safely, not through criminalization. Cuomo is using the pandemic as cover to push through massive cuts to Medicaid and rollback bail reform and now he wants to sic the NYPD on us, when increased enforcement will put more officers in close contact with New Yorkers, running the risk of spreading the virus further. Furthermore, Mayor de Blasio and Cuomo’s political beef has resulted in mixed messages and confusion about social distancing best practices. How dare Cuomo punish New Yorkers for his own failure – and that of the federal and city governments – to meet New Yorkers’ needs and provide coherent, accurate guidance about the pandemic?
We demand Governor Cuomo retract his call for the NYPD to be more aggressive, support a moratorium on all low-level police enforcement, and focus on meeting New Yorkers' needs and ensuring they have resources and consistent, accurate information about how to protect themselves and their neighbors.
In the absence of this, the Justice Committee is calling on New Yorkers to monitor and document the NYPD, while still practicing social distancing to #FlattenTheCurve: #CopWatch from your windows, fire escapes, and roofs and while outside for essential purposes.