Updated: Sep 22, 2019
As family members whose loved ones were unjustly killed by police, we are outraged and extremely disappointed in Senators Phillip Boyle, Andrew Lanza, Thomas O'Mara, Patrick Gallivan, Todd Kaminsky, Diane Savino, Andrew Gounardes, and Alessandra Biaggi, who, today, all voted to pass the dangerous S335 out of the New York State Senate Codes Committee. These Senators voted to undermine historic civil rights protections, gave in to baseless fear-mongering by anti-justice rightwing forces, and brought this misguided bill a step closer to being brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
S335 promotes the false rhetoric of the Trump administration that there are increasing attacks against law enforcement, which is part of Trump's effort to criminalize communities of color and target families like ours, who are raising our voices to demand police accountability. Every member of the codes committee who did not vote against S335 has acted against civil rights, racial justice, and police accountability by giving cover to the dangerous myths that police unions have been promoting.
There is no logic in gutting hate crimes legislation by changing protected classes to include police, who are already the only profession authorized to use lethal force and who already have special protections under the law. You are talking about the armed killers who took our loved ones’ lives. Those who fall into the “protected categories” in current hate crimes legislation – people of color, the lgbtq community, those with disabilities and others – are all too often the ones victimized by police violence. It is shameful that S335 advanced out of the Senate Codes Committee today.
The New York State Senate finally has a democratic majority this session. We had hoped this would help break the status quo in Albany and yet, today, we saw more of the same. We need legislators who are truly committed to traditionally marginalized New Yorkers and act out of a sense of justice, rather than ones who make decisions based on political motivation.
Iriz Baez, mother of Anthony Baez (killed in 1994)
Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah (killed in 2012)
Valerie Bell and Oniaja Shepard, mother and aunt of Sean Bell (killed in 2006)
Gwen Carr and Ellisha Flagg Garner, mother and sister of Eric Garner (killed in 2014)
Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small (killed in 2016)
Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo (killed in 1999)
Natasha Duncan and Angie Hicks, sister and aunt of Shantel Davis (killed in 2012)
Jennifer Gonzalez, mother of the son of Kenny Lazo (killed in 2008)
Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray (killed in 2013)
Allisa Findley, sister of Botham Jean (killed in 2018)
Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado (killed in 2011)
Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham (killed in 2012)
Nancy Pacheco, sister-in-law of Jayson Tirado (killed in 2007)
Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley (killed in 2014)
Eric Vassell, father of Saheed Vassell (killed in 2018)