MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 1, 2020

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Velázquez Calls for Investigation of Minneapolis Police Department

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (Photo Credit: ballotpedia.org)
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement shortly after the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota made national headlines.

On May 25, officer Derek Chauvin apprehended and arrested Floyd on charges of using counterfeit money at a deli. During the arrest, Chauvin pinned him to the ground and knelt on his neck for eight straight minutes, choking him to death.

“Every single American should feel anger and outrage,” said Velázquez. “People of color are tired, not just of systematic abuse at the hands of law enforcement, but of income inequality, crumbling public housing, underinvestment in education, barriers to entrepreneurship and lack of access to affordable health care. All these symptoms of the underlying racism in American society contribute to the disproportionately higher mortality rates from COVID-19 we are seeing today in black and brown communities. 

“I have called for and will keep pushing for a swift and thorough investigation by federal authorities into the police officers in Minnesota. There should be criminal charges and the officers involved should be arrested immediately. I will continue my work in our City to end over-policing and harassment of people of color by law enforcement.”

As of May 29, Chauvin is facing charges for third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.


Kavanagh “Angered and Heartbroken” over George Floyd’s Death

State Senator Brian P. Kavanagh (source: nysenate.gov)
State Senator Brian P. Kavanagh

State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-LES) released the following statement on Saturday regarding the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota:

“I am both angered and heartbroken by the images of Mr. Floyd’s death and the anguish it has caused. I am also extremely concerned about people’s safety—especially the safety of Americans who are responsibly exercising their right to protest and police officers who are doing their jobs and working to keep the peace.

At moments like this—which come along with sad frequency—we find ourselves asking whether each of us has done enough. I am somewhat heartened that the NYPD is pursuing disciplinary charges related to the violent arrest of Donni Wright on the Lower East Side on May 2nd, but we must do more to ensure that such incidents are routinely investigated, and not just when a bystander records them.”


James to Conduct Independent Review of George Floyd Protests

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Last Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) will be reviewing the conduct of the NYPD during last night’s protests surrounding the death of George Floyd.

In addition to police procedures, James’ report will also include a review of crowd actions during the protests.

“Peaceful protest is a basic civil right,” said James. “That right should be protected and guarded. We take the designation to investigate last night’s actions very seriously. We will act independently to seek answers, ensure that the truth is laid bare, and that there is accountability for any wrongdoing.”


Johnson, Dromm, Gibson Urge Mayor to Address $9 Million Budget Gap

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)
Council Member Corey Johnson

Last Saturday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Councilmembers Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) and Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx) wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), urging him to search for meaningful savings among city agencies to address the $9 million budget gap.

According to the Mayor’s most recent revenue estimate, the State will face a budget deficit of $1.6 billion this year, for a total gap of $9 million. Even worse, the State’s federal stimulus money may not arrive by the time it adopts a budget in June.

On behalf of the Council and the Budget Negotiating Team, the electeds urged de Blasio to search all our agencies for possible cuts we could make to balance the budget.

“We request that you require each agency that has not already identified significant cuts in the Executive Budget to identify cuts of at least five to seven percent of their budgets,” they wrote. “However, no proposed cut should be one that would weaken the social safety net or hurt vulnerable New Yorkers. As the end of the fiscal year is rapidly approaching, the Council looks forward to receiving each agency’s list of proposed cuts by Monday, June 8th.”

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