Queens Lawmakers on the Move June 18, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Richards Committee Hears Lancman Ban Chokehold Bill

City Councilmember Donovan Richards
City Councilman Rory Lancman

City Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens), chair of the Council’s Committee of Public Safety, today will oversee a committee meeting to review City Council Member Rory Lancman’s (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) proposed legislation regulating police chokeholds and other restraint.

The Bill, Into. 536-B, establishes a misdemeanor for restraining an individual in a manner that restricts the flow of air or blood by compressing the windpipe or the carotid arteries on each side of the neck, or sitting, kneeling, or standing on the chest or back in a manner that compresses the diaphragm, in the course of effecting or attempting to effect an arrest.

The remote hearing is slated for 10 a.m. today, June 18. Watch here.

Hyndman Lauds Cuomo Exec Order Recognizing Juneteenth Holiday for State Workers

Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman

Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman (D- Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, Addisleigh Park, Hollis, Springfield Gardens, Jamaica) yesterday lauded Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees, in recognition of the official emancipation of African Americans throughout the United States. 

The Governor will also advance Hyndman’s legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the news of liberation came to Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln‘s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863. African Americans across the state were made aware of their right to freedom on this day when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with federal troops to read General Order No. 3 announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved were now free, as well as to maintain a presence in Texas for the purpose of enforcement of emancipation among slave-owners throughout the state.

“Black Emancipation Day, June 19th, 1865 also known as Juneteenth is pivotal in the joy, congregation, and spiritual well being of black people in America. I am pleased that the work I have done to solidify Juneteenth as a holiday in the State of New York is coming to fruition. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Governor to ensure black history and liberation stays at the forefront of progress,” said Hyndman.

De Blasio Announces New Reforms to NYPD’s Disciplinary System

Mayor BIll de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio yesterday announced new reforms to the NYPD’s disciplinary system to expedite the investigation and discipline for incidents involving substantial bodily injury to a member of the public, and provide greater transparency on disciplinary records and decisions. 

The Mayor also announced that the City will apply its new body-worn camera release policy retroactively, and release all audio and video footage from older cases that fit expanded criteria.

“New Yorkers are speaking up, and their City is listening,” said de Blasio. “These historic reforms will make the disciplinary process faster, fairer and more transparent. We will never stop working to strengthen the bonds of trust between officers and the New Yorkers they serve.”

The reforms include:

Faster Discipline – For incidents involving substantial bodily injury, the Police Commissioner will make an initial determination on whether to place the officer on modified duty or suspension within 48 hours of the incident. NYPD will conclude the investigation into such incidents within two weeks, unless there are evidentiary delays caused by circumstances beyond the control of the NYPD or where there is significant risk of interference with a criminal investigation.

More Transparent Discipline – The NYPD will publish all trial decisions or settlements reached going forward, effective immediately. NYPD will also post information for the approximately 1100 pending cases for which charges have been served. This information will include names, charges, hearing dates and resolutions when available. This information will be posted by mid-July.  The NYPD will also make comprehensive disciplinary records fully transparent online. The records of the pending cases will be prioritized for release. 

Katz Announces Queens Man Sentenced for Killing Female Roommate

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced this week that a 30-year-old Queens resident has been sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter in February. 

The defendant, Render Stetson-Shanahan, 30, of Stanhope Street in Ridgewood repeatedly stabbed his female roommate in the apartment they shared in Ridgewood in September of 2016.

According to trial testimony, shortly before midnight on September 28, 2016, police responded to a report of a man wearing only underwear and wandering the neighborhood with a knife. Police found the defendant at his apartment on Stanhope Street. He was in his bed and was bleeding from a self-inflicted wound to his right thigh. 

Police also discovered in the next room, 26-year-old Carolyn Bush. The victim was bleeding profusely from numerous stab wounds in her neck and torso. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

“The defendant, in this case, showed no mercy when he repeatedly plunged a knife into this young woman s body. The victim s heart was punctured along with her lung and a major artery. The defendant chose to have a non-jury trial, and after weighing all the evidence the Court found him guilty of manslaughter,” said Katz.

Lee, Dromm, Van Bramer Hold Annual Pride Month Celebration

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
City Council Member Daniel Dromm

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, City Council Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst Jackson Heights) and City Council Deputy Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) today will host the annual LGBTQIA+ Pride Month Celebration,

The virtual celebration, to be live-streamed online, will feature a performance by Miss LCA, a special message by actor and Queens native John Leguizamo, music provided by DJ Miss Hap, and a tribute to those who have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Caribbean Equality Project, the LGBT Network, Out Rockaway and Queens Pride will also participate in a panel discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as resources available to LGBTQIA+ youth and seniors.

Augmenting the June 18 LGBTQIA+ Pride Month celebration is an 11-minute short film produced by QPTV and posted on www.queensbp.org/pride about leading trans-Latinx activist Lorena Borjas of Jackson Heights who passed away on March 30 this year due to complications caused by COVID-19.

“Queens is unabashedly Pride, all day and every day,” said Lee. “The Borough of Families will continue the tradition of celebrating the history of Pride, power and passion of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

“Although we are not able to celebrate in Borough Hall together this year, we remember the history of pride and the trans women of color who took a stand against police brutality 51 years ago,” said Van Bramer. “Queer liberation has always been a fight for social justice and we continue that fight today here in Queens. Happy Pride!”

“Happy LGBTQ Pride to all,” said Dromm. “LGBTQ Pride Month has always been a time for party and protest, for love and resistance. In that tradition, I am pleased to join Queens Borough President Lee in celebrating the progress we have made in Queens while renewing my commitment to fighting injustice in the years ahead.”

In addition to hosting today’s celebration, Lee has commissioned the installation of Pride flags, representing the LGBTQIA+ movement, in front of Queens Borough Hall, which will remain on display throughout the month of June. 

To virtual celebration is slated for 2 p.m. today, June 18. Live stream www.queensbp.org.