Friday, April 15th––New York, NY: Last night, family members of Anthony Baez, Allan Feliz, Delrawn, Antonio Williams, Saheed Vassell and Shantel Davis met with Mayor Eric Adams to raise concerns about his “Neighborhood Safety Teams,” the mayor’s rebranded version of the notoriously brutal NYPD Anti-Crime Unit that was shut down by then-Commissioner Dermot Shea in 2020. The families who attended the meeting are leaders in the movement to end police violence, some of whom have been fighting for police accountability and reform for decades.
At the meeting, the families delivered a letter calling on the mayor to roll back these modified plainclothes units signed by 24 family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD. They also raised concerns about the new administrations’ failure to take action to hold abusive officers accountable, including those that killed Delrawn Small, Allan Feliz, Antonio Williams, Kawaski Trawick, and Eric Garner.
Following the meeting, Justice Committee released the following statement on behalf of the families who met with the mayor:
“We are disappointed that Mayor Adams continues to insist that his revamp of the Anti-Crime Unit is an acceptable way to cure the public health crisis of gun violence. We hope that he takes into consideration the experiences and expertise we shared with him and shifts his approach to public safety moving forward.
New York City needs and deserves new, innovative solutions to public safety that don’t rely on over-policing and criminalization, which have been proven to worsen conditions that give rise to gun violence like poverty and community health. In our meeting, we highlighted the contradictions between the promise of investments in youth employment and cure violence programs in the mayor’s gun violence blueprint and the reality of his FY23 preliminary budget proposal, which fails to invest adequately in both these areas as well as housing, mental health care, and education. Mayor Adams and his staff alluded to increased investments in his pending executive budget proposal and committed to sharing specific budget numbers for the Crisis Management System. We will monitor his executive budget for real investments that truly meet our communities’ needs and watch budget negotiations closely.
We do not want any more families to be forced to join our ranks. We continue to call on the mayor to roll back his Neighborhood Safety Teams, turn away from over-policing and criminalization as his primary strategy for public safety, and instead work with us and advocates to develop a holistic plan for public safety that prioritizes meeting New Yorkers’ needs and ensuring dignity and well-being for all.”
Families Who Attended the Meeting: Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez; Victoria Davis and Victor Dempsey, siblings of Delrawn Small; Eric Vassell, father of Saheed Vassell; Gladys and Shawn Williams, parents of Antonio Williams; Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz; and Natasha Duncan, sister of Shantel Davis.