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Testimony: No Matter the Training, Neighborhood Safety Teams Will Bring Same Police Violence

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Testimony of Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez, given at the New York City Council Public Safety Committee's hearing on Mayor Adams' Gun Violence Blueprint on March 30, 2022

I am Iris Baez, the mother of Anthony Baez. I’ve been fighting for justice through four mayors since my son was murdered by NYPD Lt. Francis Livoti in the Bronx in 1994.

For nearly three decades, I have joined with other families of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD to call on each administration to stop the NYPD’s violent and heavy-handed approach to public safety, especially in Black and Latinx communities. We don’t want any more families to join this club that none of us ever wanted to be in. Yet, here we go, again.

Estamos hartos! We are tired!

We all know the definition of insanity. It’s when you recycle the same abusive and ineffective efforts and try to promote them as new solutions. That’s what Mayor Adams is doing with his Neighborhood Safety Teams.

Giuliani, Bloomberg and de Blasio all said they would end gun violence with more policing and more locking people up. Instead, they just continued a long history and culture of NYPD brutality. Now Mayor Adams is doing the same. It doesn’t matter what his units wear. They come out of this history and all but one are going to Black and Latinx communities. We will get the same results.

Adams says these officers were all retrained, but the families are tired of hearing that old tune. After my son was murdered with a chokehold that had already been banned, they said they would retrain. Two decades later, plainclothes officers murdered Eric Garner with the same chokehold.

On top of this, Adams recently tried to deter New Yorkers from filming the police and he has failed to show he will hold abusive officers accountable. Where is the blueprint on ending police violence?

Repeating the same failed policing tactics that killed our loved ones will not work. The families are asking the City Council – stand with us to oppose Mayor Adams’ version of the plainclothes units. The families want to put our club out of business. Don’t you want to, too?


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