Bklyn Lawmakers React To Cuomo Appointment Of Special Prosecutor
Brooklyn lawmakers, yesterday, lauded Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s executive order appointing the New York State Attorney General as a special prosecutor in matters relating to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement officers. The order also allows the special prosecutor to review cases where there is a question whether the civilian was armed and dangerous at the time of his or her death.
The executive order comes about a year after unarmed Eric Garner died when police put him in a choke hold while attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. It also follows a string of unarmed civilian deaths by law enforcement officers around the country. Below are some of the lawmaker’s statements:
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries: “In a democracy, everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law. However, when a police officer crosses the line and appears to use excessive force the criminal justice system often fails to hold that officer accountable. That must change. When a police officer takes the life of an unarmed civilian there should be a fair and objective investigation. The most effective way to bring this about is through the appointment of an independent prosecutor. Governor Cuomo should be commended for his vision and resolute leadership in this regard.”
East Flatbush Assemblyman Nick Perry: “For the families and advocates who have worked so hard to fight for a better justice system, the executive order released today is extremely significant. Today, we take a big step forward in the fight to reform our justice system, and I thank the Governor for taking swift action on this critically important issue.”
Flatbush Senator Kevin Parker said: “Recent cases of citizen deaths at the hands of law enforcement have left a discouraging sentiment for people across our nation. Today, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we are taking a major step forward in bringing more transparency to these cases that have eroded the public’s trust in our criminal justice system. Because of the Governor’s commitment to bridging the divide between our communities and law enforcement, we are moving forward as a city and as a state.”
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said: “Governor Cuomo’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor in crimes against civilians by police officers is a critical move towards criminal justice reform. District Attorneys inherently rely on cooperation from police every day, and we need mechanisms in place to avoid conflict of interests and maintain objectivity in cases of police violence.”
East Flatbush/Flatlands City Councilman Jumaane Williams: The Governor deserves credit. Still, so much more work needs to be done, including extending this executive order for more than one year. As an elected official who has fought for better police practices, I will continue advocating for improved police-community relations, and will work with city and state elected officials, as well as the family members of police brutality victims, to build on this victory and holistically improve our public safety system for all.”
Crown Heights Assemblywoman Diana Richardson: “While this is a first step in rebuilding trust in the criminal justice system, it is still clear that we need a comprehensive, thorough review of the entire process, and needed reforms must be enacted into law during the next legislative session. Until then, we must remove any possible conflict of interest and make sure there is an independent review of these horrible incidents. We need reform, and we need transparency in the prosecutorial process.”
Ortiz Bill Calls For Divestment In Fossil Fuel Companies
Sunset Park Assembly member and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz and Senator Liz Krueger (D-New York) have announced the introduction of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act (A.8011A/S.5873) that would require the State Comptroller to divest the Common Retirement Fund (CRF) from fossil fuel holdings by 2020.
“Bold action is needed now to mitigate climate change,” said Ortiz. “If we miss this opportunity to enact clean energy laws today, our children may face serious consequences. The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act sends a strong message that New York should not invest in companies whose profits depend on damaging our climate. Our investment strategies should mirror the state’s public policies. That is why I wholeheartedly sponsor this bill to take the state’s pension fund monies out of the pockets of those who profit from fossil fuels.”
The measure would direct the State Comptroller to divest the CRF from holdings in the top 200 largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies, as defined by carbon content in the companies’ proven oil, gas and coal reserves. Divestment from coal companies must be completed within one year, with divestment from all other fossil fuel companies completed by January 1, 2020.
The bill includes a requirement that the Comptroller identifies all companies subject to divestment in which the CRF has holdings, and report annually on the progress of divestment from those companies.
Adams Breaks Ramadan Fast With Muslim Brooklynites
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, tonight, will break the daily Ramadan fast with over a hundred Muslim Brooklynites, including local religious leaders and ambassadors from Middle Eastern and Asian nations, at an Iftar dinner he is hosting in the courtroom of Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Over 25 area mosques and cultural organizations are sponsoring the celebration, which will also honor a number of community members for their advocacy and support of issues affecting Muslim-Americans. Adams will speak about the importance of highlighting the borough’s religious diversity and strengthening interfaith ties.
The event is slated for 7 p.m., tonight, July 9 at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street.
***PLEASE NOTE: The Iftar dinner is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of Brooklyn Borough Hall. The Maghrib prayer, the fourth of five formal daily prayers for the Muslim community, will be practiced in the community room and rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall at approximately 8:30 p.m.***
Golden Lives Up to His Lawmaker Moniker
Bay Ridge State Senator Marty Golden, yesterday, announced that for the second year in a row, he is a leader among his colleagues within the State Legislature in legislation passed that he sponsored. The senate approved 103 bills he introduced, and both the senate and assembly approving 38 bills he sponsored.
“On behalf of the people I represent in my district, I am proud to be at the top of the statewide list of legislative accomplishments this session. I believe that we have achieved success in a number of areas, including transportation, public safety, medical research, and civil service management this year. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the future, and continuing to create effective laws here in our State the improve our quality of life, create jobs, and protect our citizens,” said Golden.
Some of the bills approved by both the Senate and the Assembly include:
“S3203A Relates to the crime of forcible touching on the transportation system
*S3228 Creates an extra transfer for pay-per-ride Metrocard users
*S3809A Directs the NYC Transit Authority and the MTA to report to the Governor and the Legislature on service reductions and elimination
*S4839 Relates to the assault in the 2nd Degree of an emergency medical service paramedics and technicians
*S5194 Requires the annual reporting of criminal activity on subways
*S5231A Provides for Hurricane Sandy recovery funds oversight
*S5437 Establishes the Metropolitan Transit Authority Disabled Riders’ Council
For the past five years, Golden has ranked among the top three Senators in numbers of bills passed.
Jeffries Defunds Confederate Flag On Public Buildings
Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries saw the House pass an amendment that will prohibit the allocation of federal funds in connection with the purchase or display of a confederate flag on a public building or facility under the authority of the National Park Service.
The amendment, which is attached to H.R. 2822, an appropriations bill related to the funding of the National Park Service, specifies “none of the funds made available to the National Park Service by this Act may be used for the purchase or display of a confederate flag with the exception of specific circumstances where the flags provide historical context.”
“The confederate battle flag is a divisive symbol of oppression that has no place in a civilized society. Our country has come a long way since the abolition of slavery, but there is much more to be done in order to eradicate the cancer of racial hatred. By prohibiting the use of federal funds in connection with the purchase or display of the confederate battle flag, the House has chosen to embrace progress over division. It is time to banish the confederate battle flag to the dustbin of history once and for all,” said Jeffries.
The passage of the Jeffries amendment comes in the aftermath of the racially motivated shooting deaths of nine African-American members of the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The continued glorification of the confederate battle flag and its use by white supremacists like Dylann Roof sparked national outrage.
Williams Celebrates Paerdegat Park Improvements
East Flatbush City Council Member Jumaane Williams, today, will join Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey to co-host a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the completion of Phase II improvements to Paerdegat Park on Foster Avenue, between E. 40th St. and E. 41st Streets.
Williams previously allocated $1.65 million for this park improvement, which included sidewalk paving and added trees to the park’s perimeter. In addition, the playground has doubled in size with new play equipment, pavement and safety surface, while the basketball court was completely reconstructed with new pavement, color seal coat, and Lexan backboards, along with lighting for evening play. New benches, chess and checker tables, domino tables and landscaping were also added to give the entire park a fresh new look.
The ceremony is slated for 11 a.m.