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Letter from Families Who've Lost Loved Ones to the NYPD in Support of How Many Stops Act


December 19, 2023


Mayor Eric Adams

 

Members of the New York City Council


City Hall

New York, NY 10007


Dear City Council Members and Mayor Adams,


We, the undersigned families who have lost loved ones to the NYPD, urgently write to implore you to pass both bills of the How Many Stops Act on 12/20/23 and for the Mayor to sign them into law immediately upon passage.


The two bills of the How Many Stops Act, Intros 586 and 538, are common-sense, achievable measures that will advance police accountability and community safety by helping to ensure officers only make stops with proper legal justification, curbing the current troubling rise in unconstitutional stops, and shedding light the full breadth of the NYPD’s "low-level" stops, investigative encounters, and consent searches to advance further reforms.


We want to address the misinformation campaign being waged against Intro. 586, in particular. Unfortunately, we are all too used to the NYPD and those who are opposed to police transparency and accountability spreading lies, not only about why our loved ones were killed by NYPD, but also about positive reforms that we have fought for and won in the past. We urge you not to fall prey to these tactics. Stand with us families and Black, Latinx, and other communities of color by ensuring the How Many Stops Act becomes law.


Intro. 586 of HMSA requires reporting on when, where, why, and key demographic information of those stopped (based on officers’ perception) during so-called “low-level” NYPD street stops, formally known as level 1 and 2 investigative encounters. It does NOT require the collection of personal information, nor require ANY reporting on causal interactions, like a tourist asking for directions or officers saying hello and conversing casually with community members.


Given the NYPD’s existing technology, implementing HMSA will be a matter of a simple update to existing digital systems that are already accessible to District Attorneys for discovery purposes. 


Officers will be able to complete reports on cellphones/digitally in a matter of seconds, as experts have pointed out. In his final report, Judge Ariel Belen, the facilitator for the Floyd v. the City of New York stop-and-frisk civil suit, wrote that this kind of reporting creates virtually no additional burden on officers. HMSA reporting is a matter of a few seconds and a few clicks on officers’ phones, NOT endless paperwork.


As families who have endured the unimaginable loss of loved ones to the NYPD over decades, we advocate for transparency, accountability, and change to prevent further suffering. Some of our loved ones, like Eric Garner and Antonio Williams, were killed during unconstitutional stops—the very encounters HMSA will illuminate.  The How Many Stops Act is not the only change we need, but by shedding light on all stops - including how often and where they happen and if they are motivated by racial profiling - it will enable us to work together toward eradicating unnecessary and unconstitutional policing and ultimately prevent others families from suffering as we do.


When some of us families and advocates met with Mayor Adams before you took office in November 2021, you said you were in support of reporting on level 1 and 2 stops. You must not go back on this commitment.


The time for action is now. We urge you to pass and sign the How Many Stops Act into law without delay as an essential step towards true community safety and police accountability and as a measure to begin to heal the wounds of decades of biased enforcement practices. Honor the memory of our loved ones and build a safer, more just New York City for all.

Sincerely,

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

  • Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo (killed by NYPD in 1999) 

  • Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bill (killed by NYPD in 2006)

  • Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in 1994) 

  • Mercy Baez, cousin of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in 1994)

  • Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Gladys Williams, stepmother of Antonio Williams (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams (killed by NYPD in 2019)

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

  • Ellen Trawick, mother of Kawaski Trawick (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Rickie Trawick, father of Kawaski Trawick (killed by NYPD in 2019)

  • Angie Hicks, aunt of Shantel Davis, (killed by NYPD in 2012)

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

  • Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah (killed by NYPD in 2012) 

  • Natasha Duncan, sister of Shantel Davis (killed by NYPD in 2012) 

  • Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small (killed by NYPD in 2016) 

  • Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray (killed by NYPD in 2013) 

  • Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega (killed by the NYPD in 1995)


CC: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Council Member Alexa Aviles, Council Member Crystal Hudson, Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander

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