BP Candidates Weigh in on Police Reform

The Borough President Candidates weigh in on Police Reform. Photo by Tsubasa Berg
The Borough President Candidates weigh in on Police Reform. Photo by Tsubasa Berg

For the past week, protesters have taken to the streets condemning the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and demanding that reforms be made locally in how the NYPD polices the city, and investigates abuse allegations within the department.

With the June 23 primary approaching and police reform at the top of everyone’s minds, Queens County Politics reached out to the five candidates for Queens Borough President and asked: 

“If elected, what steps would you take regarding policing and, if you agree with them, how would you channel the protests into policy using your position as Queens Borough President?”

These were their responses, edited only for grammar and punctuation. 

Elizabeth Crowley

Elizabeth Crowley: 

The next Queens borough president will be involved in serious, long-overdue conversations about systemic racism and police reform. Black Lives Matter and we need a justice system that recognizes this. We must implement policies that will emphasize community understanding and police de-escalation — and that’s only the beginning. Change will only come through peaceful protest, full civic engagement, and a reform agenda.  

Anthony Miranda

Anthony Miranda: 

I would hold politicians accountable. The City Council — Richards, Constantinides, Crowley — have NO significant reform to address these issues that plague our communities.

Our community suffers from:

  1. Illegal NYPD arrest quotas
  2. Illegal NYPD summons quotas
  3. Over policing
  4. Abusive police practices
  5. No oversight of police
  6. Failure to discipline police 
  7. And so much more

As Queens Borough President, I will advocate for:

  1. A permanent independent special prosecutor to investigate all cases of police abuse, police misconduct and deaths caused by police officers. 
  2. All NYPD disciplinary cases go to OATH — the Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings, like all other city agencies.
  3. CCRB to hold hearings and impose disciplinary action, not just make recommendations.
  4. The creation of the Department of Civilian Justice, proposed in Bill #5947.
  5. Hold public hearings. 

Politicians have had years to move police reform and accountability forward. I fully support the peaceful protests. To make sure reform doesn’t have to wait for another person of color to be murdered:

  1. I would publicly identify any politicians who do not support reform.
  2. I would help organize protests. 
  3. I would help “reform candidates” run for public office.

These are the facts: 5% of the bills sponsored by Donavan, Constantinides and Crowley were actually enacted. None of those bills addressed police abuse or accountability for illegal arrest quotas or illegal summons quotas. None of the bills addressed holding police accountable for misconduct.

Bills where the candidates were the primary sponsors from the past 8 years:

Richards – 148 bills introduced where he was a primary sponsor – 26 of these enacted.

Crowley – 135 bills introduced where she was a primary sponsor – 28 of these enacted.

Constantinides – 165 bills introduced where he was a primary sponsor – 33 of these enacted.

It is long overdue that we hold politicians accountable and that’s why I’m asking the community to vote for me for Queens Borough President.

City Councilmember Donovan Richards

Councilmember Donovan Richards: 

As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made on criminal justice reform, but it is clearly not enough. It’s important that we all make our voices heard against injustice and continue the conversation so that we can enact real, substantive change in our public policies. We need more transparency in our department and we need to hold officers responsible for their conduct which is why I’ve introduced legislation we will soon pass to create a discipline matrix to make consequences clear for misconduct. But there are still other steps that we need to take to create trust between communities of color and the police. As borough president I’ll continue the work we’ve accomplished in the Public Safety Committee, monitor complaints and track use of force, open a wing of the Civilian Complaint Review Board within the office, and hold monthly meetings with precinct community councils. I’m ready to take on these challenges as Queens borough president and make our borough, city, and country a fairer and more equitable place to call home.

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

Councilmember Costa Constantinides:

We need to make sure those voices out there right now protesting are heard. First, the next Queens borough president must use their advocacy powers to fight for a significantly reduced NYPD budget because the militarization of our police department has gone too far. But we also must get justice for the black and brown communities who have long been marginalized by police brutality. The next borough president should support, empower, and amplify the voices for those communities. They must guarantee that we save things like the Summer Youth Employment Program as well as take a proactive approach by creating a NYCHA tenant leaders task force.

Dao Yin did not respond in time for publication.