Hoylman Calls on DAs to Drop Charges Against Protesters
State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) issued a statement yesterday, urging all five District Attorneys in New York to drop all charges against those protesting police brutality.
Over the weekend, the death of George Floyd sparked protests across all five boroughs. During that time, the NYPD has arrested numerous protesters, charging them with unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct.
“Systemic reform has to include our treatment of protesters,” said Hoylman. “There’s nothing unlawful about a New Yorker exercising their First Amendment rights. I’m calling on all five District Attorneys in New York City to drop charges against protesters for the class B misdemeanor of Unlawful Assembly (Penal Law Sec. 240.10) and the violation of Disorderly Conduct (Penal Law Sec. 240.20).
“Protesting injustice is not a crime. In New York City, prosecutors shouldn’t treat it as one.”
Johnson Requests Investigation of NYPD’s Mishandling of Protests
Last Sunday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Councilmember Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) sent a letter to Department of Investigation (DOI) Commissioner Margaret Garnett, requesting an independent investigation of the NYPD’s mishandling of last weekend’s police brutality protests.
The letter, citing several videotaped instances of police misconduct, calls for an investigation that’s entirely separate from the Mayor’s office. It also requests an investigation of the NYPD’s general policies regarding mass demonstrations.
“Witnesses and reporters describe, and in several cases videos show, alarming instances of misconduct by the NYPD during these protests,” reads the letter. “These instances include the use of pepper spray against two State elected officials (Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Diana Richardson), two NYPD vehicles ramming a group of people, a police officer forcefully shoving a woman to the ground, and a police officer removing the mask of a man with his hands in the air to pepper spray him.
“Any investigation by the City should be conducted independently, not in coordination with or under the supervision of the Corporation Counsel or any other office or agency directly controlled by the Mayor. The public must have confidence in our response. That will not happen unless we ensure that there is no possibility of political interference.”
Maloney, AOC Highlight Need for Nondiscriminatory Blood Donation Guidelines
Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn Queens) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) introduced a resolution emphasizing the need for the FDA to adopt nondiscriminatory blood donation policies.
For years, the FDA’s guidelines recommended that men who have sex with men should have to wait 12 months before donating blood. Last April, they shortened the deferral period from 12 months to 3; however, Maloney and her peers contend that this is still not enough.
“For years, FDA’s discriminatory restrictions have prevented people from safely donating their blood and perpetuated harmful stigma against gay and bisexual men across the United States,” said Maloney. “The coronavirus crisis brought into focus the dangers of this shortsighted policy. It is imperative that our nation’s blood donation policy be rooted in science, and I am proud to join in introducing a resolution calling for just that.”
Kallos Calls for Resiliency Investment at Outset of Hurricane Season
Yesterday, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) was one of several electeds calling for action to strengthen New York’s infrastructure ahead of hurricane season.
Kallos, who represents a coastal district, said that the City can’t afford to cut corners on disaster preparation.
“Right now is not the time for the federal government to cut back on funding that may protect New York City from the next hurricane headed our way,” said Kallos. “Every New Yorker remembers superstorm Sandy; the lives we lost, the destruction to our City, and the financial costs. The threat that climate change poses has only increased with time, and with a busier than usual hurricane season expected we need to take every precaution possible.”