Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 5, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Rivera Blasts Shea, De Blasio for Defending Police Brutality

Council Member Carlina Rivera
Council Member Carlina Rivera

City Councilmember Carlina Rivera (D-Lower East Side, East Village, Murray Hill) joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D) Tuesday to criticize Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea for defending violent arrests of black New Yorkers who violate social distancing protocols as standard protocol, Patch reported. 

The spat comes after video footage was released showing officers aggressively detaining social distancing violators on the Lower East Side and in Brooklyn, including punching them.

“A punch is something we actually train for in the police academy,” Shea told the press. “A punch should not be assumed to be excessive force.” 

Adams disagreed. “Proper public safety interaction isn’t about ego. It’s about deescalation,” he said. “This officer’s actions were unacceptable.”

Rivera expressed similar sentiments. “Regardless of what transpired before the video, what is the justification for the rage?” she tweeted. “Where’s the professionalism and de-escalation tactics we should expect?”

Rosenthal Promotes WomanKind to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

Council Member Helen Rosenthal
Council Member Helen Rosenthal

The prevalence of domestic violence has increased since the coronavirus crisis came to New York City; even worse, the lockdown makes it harder for victims to get the help they need, ABC 7 reported Monday.

WomanKind, a local nonprofit that provides help lines and social workers for survivors of domestic abuse, has extended its support option to include chat and text functions in instances that calling for help is not an option.

City Council Women and Gender Equity Committee Chair Helen Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side, Central Park, Hell’s Kitchen) praised their work.

“Victims and survivors are not able to call for help in the ways they did before,” she said. “This is all the more chilling because we know that domestic violence during a crisis is more severe and more likely to result in death.”

Krueger Joins Call to Divest from Fossil Fuels

State Senator Liz Krueger
State Senator Liz Krueger

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (D) wants the state of New York to continue investing in fossil fuels, but some state lawmakers have seen the benefits of divesting in them amid the pandemic, the Gotham Gazette reported Tuesday. 

State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Midtown East) joined Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) are sponsors of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, which would mandate the comptroller to remove fossil fuel producers from the state pension fund over the course of five years. The two have cited the chaos in the industries since the coronavirus struck as a motive to divest.

“If you look at [DiNapoli’s] handling of our pension funds, you can’t really say he’s not paying attention to the issue. He just doesn’t want the Legislature to be able to insert itself into what he defines as his authority,” said Krueger. “And he thinks that he is moving us in exactly what direction we should be going. I don’t disagree with him on the direction, I disagree with him on the speed at which we are getting there.”