Families of NYers Killed by NYPD Demand Halt on New Easier-to-Shoot NYPD Guns in Letter to Mayor

Families who have lost loved ones to the police criticize the decision to turn to new weaponry rather than investing in non-police safety solutions Dear Mayor de Blasio, We are 21 family members of New Yorkers who were killed by the NYPD. Some of us have been fighting for an end to senseless police killings and violence for decades. Sadly, year after year, new families have joined our ranks because NYC continues to empower the NYPD to criminalize, brutalize and kill Black, Latinx, and other New Yorkers of color. We are outraged by the decision to equip NYPD officers with guns that have sensitive triggers that are easier to fire. This will not increase safety for New Yorkers or help the NYPD uphold the law. All it will do is make it easier for officers to play the role of judge, jury and executioner, as they did with our loved ones. This decision was also made without input from us families, other police reform advocates, or the NYC public. In the interest of public safety, we are calling on you and NYPD Commissioner Shea to immediately halt the use of these new firearms, which the NYPD has decided to put in the hands of the graduating rookie class starting in October. The NYPD claims that giving officers firearms that require less than half as much pressure to shoot than their current weapons will improve accuracy. The NYPD officers who murdered our loved ones had no problem firing guns with 12lb triggers with deadly accuracy. It speaks volumes about the priorities of your administration that, while millions of Americans were taking to the streets to demand police transparency, discipline, defunding, abolition, and an end to these racist murders by police, the NYPD was prioritizing buying guns that make it easier to kill New Yorkers. What is even worse, you are arming rookies, who the NYPD will flood into low income -communities of color, with these weapons. New recruits are inexperienced, anxious, and all too often trigger happy. Former NYPD Officer Peter Liang had less than 18-months of experience as an NYPD officer when he entered a stairwell in the Pink Houses in Brooklyn with his gun drawn and shot and killed unarmed Akai Gurley in 2014. Akai was just walking down the stairs because the elevator was broken. Liang sought to defend himself by saying he fired his gun accidentally, in spite of the 12lbs of pressure required to pull the trigger. Would making his gun easier to fire have changed the outcome? All it would have done is caused Akai to die seconds earlier. We are all concerned about safety and the rise in violence in the context of the pandemic and corresponding economic crisis. We need solutions that bring true safety to our communities that help address root causes of violence, like poverty and inequity. It’s terrifying and despicable that money that could be used for non-police safety solutions, housing, health and mental health services, and other supports our communities desperately need is being used to make it easier for the NYPD to kill us. We are calling on you and the NYPD Commissioner to immediately put an end to this program. Please reach out to Danny Kim (danny@justicecommittee.org) with your response to our demand before October 1, 2021.

Sincerely,

Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, killed by NYPD in 1999

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

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

Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz, killed by NYPD in 2019

Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell, killed by NYPD in 2006

Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, killed by NYPD in 2012

Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez, killed by NYPD in 1994

Mercy Baez, cousin of Anthony Baez, killed by NYPD in 1994

Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick, killed by NYPD in 2019

Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams, killed by NYPD in 2019

Gladys Williams, stepmother of Antonio Williams, 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

Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray, killed by NYPD in 2013

Nancy Pacheco, sister-in-law of Jayson Tirado, killed by NYPD in 2007

Eric Vassell, father of Saheed Vassell, killed by NYPD in 2018

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, killed by NYPD in 2014

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

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

Darlene Armstead, sister of Clifford Glover, killed by NYPD in 1973

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


CC

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea


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