Nadler Announces Steps to Hold AG Barr Accountable
Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) announced a series of actions he intends to take to counter Attorney General William Barr’s (R) spurning of Congress and politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Nadler and the Judiciary Committee will, in the coming weeks:
- Introduce legislation to cut the AG’s personal office budget by $50 million;
- Hear testimony on Barr’s conduct from DOJ whistleblowers;
- and file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case United States v. Michael Flynn.
In a statement, Nadler claimed that he will no longer tolerate Barr’s continued attempts to stonewall him.
“The Attorney General’s behavior is unacceptable,” said Nadler. “I am not going to spend months litigating a subpoena with an Attorney General who has already spent years resisting the courts and legitimate congressional oversight—but neither will we stand by and allow Mr. Barr to continue to corrupt the Department. We do not take these actions lightly or with any sense of joy. We have both a duty and a moral obligation to protect the rule of law in our country, and we intend to do just that.”
De Blasio Rejects Trump’s Call for National Guard Crackdown on NYC
Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) openly responded to President Donald Trump’s (R) call to deploy the National Guard in New York to suppress rioters.
De Blasio told reporters that such a decision would be neither necessary nor prudent. The National Guard, he said, would only exacerbate the tension.
“When outside armed forces go into communities, no good comes of it,” said de Blasio. “We’ve seen this for decades; go back to the 50’s, 60’s, all the way up to today. These people are not trained for the conditions in New York City. I appreciate them deeply, but they’re not trained for the circumstances here. They have not been spending decades working on the relationship between police and community.”
Johnson Announces Vote on Legislation to Address Police Misconduct
Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) announced yesterday that the Committee on Public Safety will vote on several pieces of legislation related to police misconduct.
Among the bills and resolutions that are slated for voting this June are Intro 536, which would make it a misdemeanor for officers to use chokeholds on civilians; Intro 1309, which would require the NYPD to develop clearer guidelines for police discipline; and Res. 27, which would call for a statewide ban on chokeholds.
“The rage we are seeing in New York and nationally over the criminal justice system is justified and won’t end until we send a clear message that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior and that there are consequences for using deadly techniques,” said Johnson. “We can’t expect the public to support a police discipline system they don’t understand or one that allows for controversial techniques to restrict breathing during routine arrests. New York must show the world that there are legal consequences for police misconduct, not just closed-door decisions based on unknown standards.”
Krueger Shows Support for Ongoing New York Protests
State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill) released a statement yesterday regarding the ongoing protests against police brutality in New York.
Krueger showed wholehearted support for the protesters’ cause, but urged them not to resort to looting or violence. All the same, she maintained that our top priority should be addressing the “root causes” of the protests – namely, the systemic problems with our police force.
“While the overwhelming majority of those protesting are practicing non-violence, looting and violence by a few do not serve the cause of justice,” said Krueger. “There are even stories of white supremacists intentionally mixing with peaceful protestors to trigger violence with the police. In addition, widely-shared and televised scenes of overaggressive and dangerous actions by some police only heighten the justified outrage of those protesting.
“At the same time, while we must protect the lives and livelihoods of all New Yorkers, we must not, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, be ‘more devoted to order than to justice.’ We must not lose sight of the root cause of both the original non-violent protests and the violence that has developed alongside those protests in the last few days. Black Americans have exhausted every democratic avenue to change a system that allows them to be murdered with impunity in broad daylight. When they and their allies took to the streets last week to protest police violence, they were met with yet more violence from the police. It is deeply hypocritical for anyone to speak out today about violence against property in our city if they remained silent yesterday in the face of violence against the lives of our black neighbors.”
Espaillat Announces Harlem Manifesto to End Police Brutality
Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) announced the Harlem Manifesto, a series of legislative proposals to end police brutality and the profiling of African-Americans.
The manifesto features a ten-point plan to achieve this end. The ten points are as follows:
- Curb excessive use of force by law enforcement;
- Demilitarize our police force;
- Provide transparency and accountability;
- Provide de-escalation and sensitivity training for officers;
- Establish ongoing communication between officers and their communities;
- Eliminate inequities in law enforcement;
- Remove profit incentives for policing and law enforcement;
- Transition to restorative justice and end mass incarceration;
- Recognize and acknowledge past injustices;
- And transition away from a policing-first model, instead focusing on anti-poverty measures and long-term structural reform.
“Our nation has witnessed a horrific week of events that has left communities mourning,” said Espaillat. “After more than 400 years of oppression in America, Black men continue to be targeted, Latino families continue to be separated, and all persons of color continue to be marginalized. More than 100,000 individuals have died during a pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on communities of color at far greater magnitudes. It’s time for action and effort from each of us, together and united to ensure that the change we see happening around the country today is different. There has to be urgent resolve and healing because we cannot afford to go back to business as usual in the face of such challenges.”