Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 12, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Schumer Proposes Legislation Regulating Body Armor Sales

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced yesterday that he will author new legislation that requires Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) permission before anyone except law enforcement and other safety-related exceptions can get advanced body armor.

Schumer’s proposed legislation notes how those intent on doing evil turn to sophisticated body armor, including last Sunday’s shooting tragedy in Dayton, Ohio and a recent scare in a Missouri Walmart.

“Shockingly, with the click of a mouse, the scroll of a thumb or the dialing of a phone, just about anyone can order-up the kind of advanced armor or tactical law enforcement gear we see used in wars or all-out law enforcement raids, and that is unacceptable and needs to change,” said Schumer. “As the pattern of these purchases becomes more and more predictable, we have to take a serious look at who is seeking this sophisticated armor and approving of a sale in the first place.”  

The body armor used in many of these mass-shootings is widely available across the U.S. Sophisticated armor vests, such as the one used in Ohio, can be purchased online for as low as $185—they can also be purchased on eBay. There are few legal barriers to purchasing the armor, aside from convicted violent and drug-related felons being barred. Some armor is even marked to protect wearers from armor-piercing bullets used by law enforcement officers. Even some of the most sophisticated tactical gear is available online for just a few hundred dollars.  

Louis Calls For More NYPD EDP Call Training 

City Councilmember Farah Louis

City Councilwoman Farah Louis (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, Marine Park, Kensington) last week called for more training and accountability to New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers in responding to calls involving emotionally-disturbed persons (EDP).

Louis call comes after Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez last week decided not to charge Officer Miguel Gonzalez who was one of four police officers that responded to a 911 EDP call in 2017 that led to the death of Dwayne Jeune in East Flatbush.

Miguel Gonzalez who was one of four police officers that responded to a 911 EDP call from Jeune’s mother. Seeking assistance for her son. Gonzalez, who was not trained to respond to EDP calls, shot and killed 32-year-old Jeune after police tasers failed to defuse Jeune when he allegedly lunged at officers with a bread knife.

“Another mother without a son, another family without answers, more loved ones without justice. The intersect of mental health, citizen-police encounters, and police-involved shootings is an all too frequent occurrence in communities of color. From Eleanor Bumpers to Dwayne Jeune, we have called for justice, more police training, task forces, oversight hearings, and recommendations but nothing has changed. The NYPD must adapt its protocols and practices to protect not just the communities that they serve but also the people with mental health illness who are also in need of assistance. We need greater transparency and accountability from the NYPD,” said Louis. 

Brannan, Constantinides Call For Presidential Climate Debate Gathers Steam 

Justin Brannan
City Council Member Justin Brannan

City Council members Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach) and Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) last week received fellow lawmaker support in imploring CNN to host its Sept. 4 climate town hall either in Queens or Brooklyn. 

They argued at a rally on the steps of City Hall that Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination should have to make their case before communities most at risk by the effects of climate change in the coming decades. 

“Climate change is the defining issue of our lifetime. It will influence our national security, our economy, and our health,” said Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, who organized the rally. “I applaud CNN’s decision to host a climate town hall right here in New York City, which saw the effects of climate change nearly seven years ago when Sandy struck. But these candidates should have to answer directly to the people most at risk of climate change — so we have to take this show beyond the bright lights of Broadway.”

“Every candidate running for president should be treating climate change as the existential crisis that it is. I’m glad to see that CNN is doing a climate change town hall but let’s get these candidates out to where real, everyday people are going to be affected by climate change the most,” said Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Resiliency. “Let’s get them to Coney Island or the Rockaways or someplace else besides Manhattan, where these kind of events usually happen. There are venues that not only can accommodate a presidential town hall, but would force candidates to see for themselves exactly how vulnerable our outer-borough waterfront communities are.”

Joining them in this call to hold the Town Hall in either Brooklyn or Queens were 11 city, state and federal lawmakers.

Myrie, Richardson Get State Allocation For Anti-Violence Programs

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie
Assembly Member Diana Richardson

State Sen. Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) and Assemblymember Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Garden) announced Friday several state grants to support anti-violence programs in Central Brooklyn that suffer from high rates of gun violence.

The two lawmakers also called on the Governor’s office to increase funding to community support and groups that work to prevent street violence. The announcement came amidst a national discussion of gun violence following mass shootings around the country, including in Brownsville.

The $200,000 recipients of SNUG (Cure Violence) funding will go to several organizations that serve Brownsville and Crown Heights including:

    • $50,000 to 67th Clergy Council (the God Squad) (Serving East Flatbush and throughout Central Brooklyn) 
    • $50,000 to Save Our Streets (SOS) (Serving Crown Heights and throughout Central Brooklyn) 
    • $25,000 to Brownsville Community Justice Center (BCJC)
    • $25,000 to Brownsville In Violence Out (BIVO) 
    • $25,000 to Elite Learners (Brownsville)  
    • $25,000 to Brownsville Think Tank Matters 

In addition to the anti-violence funding distributed today, the Enacted State Budget previously allocated funds that build community support, including:

  • $500,000 for YouthBuild, a program, an alternative school and vocational training program that helps opportunity youth, ages 17-24, obtain high school equivalency diplomas and job skills, secure employment and go on to college or vocational school.
  • $100,000 for Cornell Criminal Justice Employment Initiative for a pilot program on re-entry services for constituents.

 “We know that gun violence only emerges when hope has been lost,” said Myrie. “We know that for our communities to thrive, they need strong schools, churches, and community centers. Today, we are proud to invest in communities that bring peace and hope to our community and to prevent further tragedy, we demand that the governor’s office does the same.”

“It is as though we are crying out for the state of New York to pay attention to the crisis that is happening here in Central Brooklyn,” said Richardson. “We are asking for crisis money to be released today. We are asking for the kind of response we saw to the opioid crisis, to which the state responded with over $5 million in employment training, education, and medical assistance, but the demographic is different here in Central Brooklyn.”

Persaud Presents Her Annual Family Fun Day

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) this week will host her annual Family Fun Day for constituents in her district.

The event features giveaways, games, activities, resources, refreshments and more. 

The family Fun Day is slated for 12 noon – 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15 at Canarsie Park, on Seaview Avenue and East 88th Street in Canarsie.