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Samy Feliz - CRC Public Safety Hearing Testimony

My name is Samy Feliz. I was born, raised and live in Washington Heights. My mother and sister are both part of the Washington Heights community as well and so was my older brother, Allan Feliz, until he was murdered by the NYPD four and a half years ago.

I just found out about this commission and I’m here to testify because I’m concerned that the stated focus on public safety in such a rushed, badly-organized process might result in dangerous and harmful items on the November ballot. 

On Oct. 17, 2019, my brother Allan was unjustly stopped in his car, beaten, tasered, shot and killed by NYPD Lt. Jonathan Rivera and Officers Michelle Almanzar and Edward Barrett in the Bronx.

After Lt. Rivera shot Allan, Officer Barrett yanked his limp body from the car, exposing his genitals in the process. None of the officers had the decency to cover Allan up. Instead they left him bleeding in the street, cuffed and exposed. 

The Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated fireable charges against Lt. Rivera over a year ago and as of right now, a discipline trial still has not been scheduled. My family and I have been fighting through four and half years of delays and obstruction by the NYPD, the Lieutenant’s Union and the administration just to try to get Lt. Rivera fired for murdering my brother in cold blood. The whole time, Lt. Rivera has been collecting a city paycheck and padding his pension.

I’m testifying today because I am shocked at how this so-called charter revision process is going so far. This has all happened so fast that barely anyone knows about these hearings. The fact that the mayor specifically wants the commission to focus on how public safety legislation is passed is extremely suspicious, especially after the massive misinformation campaign the mayor and NYPD ran to try to stop the How Many Stops Act from becoming law, the administration’s obstruction on implementing the ban solitary law, and the fact that we can’t get any information on whether the administration is implementing the How Many Stops law.  It’s hard to understand this as anything other than yet another maneuver by the mayor to increase the power of the NYPD, policing, and punishment in our city - while advancing budget cuts that make our city less safe by cutting libraries, not funding affordable housing, enacting rent increases, and continuing to make it near-impossible to fire officers who kill, brutalize, sexually harass and abuse New Yorkers. 

For those of us fighting for change to make our communities safer, this kind of anti-democratic process leaves us with little or no hope that our voices will be heard. When we take a step forward - like the basic step of getting real transparency about NYPD street stops - this mayor wants to take us three steps back. 

Black and Latino New Yorkers like me - who get stopped by the NYPD all the time - had to fight tooth and nail to get the How Many Stops Act passed. Getting any kind of police reform legislation passed in this city is almost impossible because the NYPD, the police unions and this mayor have no problem with lying, threatening and bribing to stop it.Under Mayor Adams, fatal shootings by the NYPD are at the highest they’ve been in a decade, complaints against police are up at the highest level in 12 years. If this Charter Revision Process is used to put up even more roadblocks to police accountability, that number is only going to climb higher.

I urge the Commission not to allow this to happen.

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