Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Regarding the passage of three police accountability and transparency bills by the New York State Assembly and Senate this week, the Justice Committee released the following statement from the families who've lost loved ones to police listed below:
Over the last three days, we have achieved a historic 3-fold victory: The New York State Assembly and Senate both passed the Police Stat Act, 50-a repeal, and our legislation to ensure a special prosecutor for all police killings and deaths in custody.
We commend legislators on passing these bills, but also want to make it's very clear that these are not simply "good decisions" by elected officials. From day one, we've faced resistance from Governor Cuomo and legislators - including some that claim to be "progressive" - on these bills. What we have achieved this week is a movement victory that we only accomplished through decades of organizing and, most recently, weeks of consistently rising up in the streets.
Together, these pieces of legislation will keep New Yorker safer and are a step forward in quelling the pandemic of police violence Black and Brown communities have endured for decades. The Police Stat Act will give us data on police killings and low-level police enforcement across the state. By repealing 50a, we are tearing down the wall of secrecy the NYPD and other New York police departments have been using to protect abusive officers, including those who murdered our loved ones; and now, a special prosecutor will be ensured for all cases of police killings and deaths in custody, regardless of if the victim was allegedly armed - something the families have been demanding for decades.
The systemic changes that will be accomplished by making the special prosecutor bill law will result in more impartial investigations and prosecutions of officers who unjustly take the lives of New Yorkers. It will also centralize jurisdiction over all police killings and deaths in custody into one office, giving families and organizers a single target for our campaigns and demands for justice for police violence victims.
We thank and celebrate with all the organizations in the SaferNY Act coalition across the state and all New Yorkers who have been rising up, marching, rallying, petitioning, calling, and posting on social media to pressure state elected officials to vote right on these bills.
We are now putting Governor Cuomo on notice: sign!
Families who released this statement include:
Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez, killed by NYPD in 1994
Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, killed by NYPD in 1999
Valerie Bell, Oniaja Shepherd, and Kisha Walker, mother, aunt and god sister of Sean Bell, killing by NYPD in 2006
Nancy Pacheco, sister-in-law of Jayson Tirado, killed by NYPD in 2007
Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, killed by NYPD in 2012
Natasha Duncan and Angie Hicks, sister and aunt of Natasha Duncan, killed by NYPD in 2012
Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, killed by NYPD in 2012
Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray, killed by NYPD in 2013
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, killed by NYPD in 2014
Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley, killed by NYPD in 2014
Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small, killed by NYPD in 2016
Lorna and Eric Vassell, parents of Saheed Vassel, killed by NYPD in 2018
Gladys and Shawn Williams, parents of Antonio Williams, killed by NYPD in 2019