Forget ending stop and frisk, it’s time to end stop and close.
City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills) and Assemblymember Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) today rallied with The Black Institute (TBI) and black and brown nightclub owners to put more end the city’s Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) targeting of their clubs.
The rally comes on the heels of a TBI report that found that between 2012 and 2017 MARCH raids immensely hit minority communities, while 48 percent resulted in no charge from any of the involved agencies.
According to the report, Cabaret Law 2.0: Same Old Song & Dance, nearly 95 percent of MARCH operations occurred in minority populations of 30 percent or more. The fines accumulated were over $1.5 billion while individual penalties were as high as $40,000.
“The discriminatory enforcement on black- and brown-owned businesses, and their communities is the fuel for the lack of transparency in MARCH’s practices. The unrelenting targeted raids hurt business and in some cases even led to closures,” said Espinal, who introduced legislation Intro 1156, which would provide better insight into the number of MARCH Operations, what triggered the operation, summonses issued, and other information by requiring that quarterly reports be made available online.
“We fought hard to repeal the original Cabaret Law because it was selectively used as a tool against minority communities. Now, we must keep up the fight to pass Intro 1156 in order to hold MARCH accountable and ensure the same abuses don’t continue,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mosley called for more legislative oversight over the State Liquor Authority, a three-member gubernatorial appointed commission with immense power to revoke liquor licenses.
“The New York State Liquor Authority is one of the few entities that makes money for the State of New York. At the state level, we must ensure that their work is closely monitored and that the commissioners face rigorous vetting. We must hold hearings in the assembly on these enforcement methods the SLA utilizes, as this report makes clear there are glaring racial disparities in the neighborhoods they focus on,” said Mosley.
TBI Founder and President Bertha Lewis said the constant extreme enforcement actions of the SLA, NYPD, and the City of New York illustrated in their report demonstrate the urgent need for transparency in MARCH Operations.
“We’ve seen these tactics used at Woodland and we’ve seen them used all over the city concentrated in majority-minority communities. As we’ve said, it’s Cabaret 2.0, the law may have changed but the methods of shutting down these businesses haven’t. It’s time to pass this legislation to ensure transparency going forward,” said Lewis.