In the midst of a wave of police violence against George Floyd protesters, families call for courage from Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins
Today - as the New York State Assembly and Senate went into conference - twenty family members of New Yorkers killed by the police over the last three decades sent the following letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie:
Dear Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie:
We are the mothers, sisters, aunts and other family members of New Yorkers who have been killed by police over the past three decades. Some of us were out at protests in New York this past weekend and witnessed and experienced police assaulting people, pepper spraying people, disrespecting people and being violent to us.
All of us families are united in telling you that we need you to be strong and lead the legislature to finally do a full repeal of the police secrecy law, 50a. No tweaks, modifications, amendments - we need a full repeal of 50-a and nothing else is acceptable.
The police murders of George Floyd and others were traumatizing to all of us, triggering our individual and collective pain. We are outraged that more people keep getting added to this club of families whose loved ones are killed by law enforcement in this country. None of us ever wanted to be in this club.
We know better than anyone what kinds of obstacles get thrown at us when we try to seek justice for our loved ones. One major obstacle is that police have special rights, they're treated like they're above the law, and information about police misconduct and discipline is kept secret in New York.
We need you to do a full repeal of 50a now.
Our communities are hurting. People are dying because of coronavirus and police violence. If you have ever marched with us, said our loved ones’ names, pledged your support to us -- we are demanding that you stand with us now and pass S3695/A2513 (Bailey/O'Donnell) now.
We need you to hear our calls for justice and police transparency and accountability. This is no time for politics as usual. Half measures, tweaks, or anything that's not a full repeal of 50a is not acceptable.
Many of us are still fighting to get information about the cops who murdered our loved ones and the cops who helped them cover it up. Please understand that if you do anything other than a full repeal of 50a we will see this as a betrayal of all of us.
Repeal 50a and pass S3695/A2513 (Bailey/O'Donnell) now.
1. Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner
2. Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo
3. Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell
4. Oniaja Shepherd, aunt of Sean Bell
5. Kisha Walker, godsister of Sean Bell
6. Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez
7. Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham
8. Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small
9. Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley
10. Jennifer Gonzalez, mother of Kenny Lazo’s son
11. Natasha Duncan, sister of Shantel Davis
12. Angie Hicks, aunt of Shantel Davis
13. Gladys and Shawn Williams, parents of Antonio Williams
14. Nancy Pacheco, sister-in-law of Jayson Tirado
15. Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega
16. Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah
17. Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray
18. Eric and Lorna Vassell, parents of Saheed Vassell