NYS BPHA Caucus Urges Passage of Legislation to Protect Black Lives and Push for Criminal Justice Reforms

Legislators rally in Queens in show of solidarity among ten statewide events
June 4, 2020

Queens, NY – Today, Queens legislators of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus held a press conference to urge immediate passage of legislation aimed at bringing justice to police and judicial departments across New York. Thursday’s event was part of a coordinated effort of ten simultaneous rallies organized by the Caucus throughout the five boroughs, Long Island and four upstate cities. The lawmakers are pushing for essential legislation, including repealing 50-a; banning the use of the chokehold; creating an office of the special prosecutor; and increasing the use of law enforcement body cameras. The comprehensive list of bills is below.

“We have compromised for far too long,” said Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman. “We cannot continue to let legislation die in the Governor’s hands that will ultimately lead to dead black and brown bodies. It is time for this forward-thinking State of New York to set the precedent for more change to come. Black bodies are just as precious as anyone else’s and are worthy of care and protection. The time is now.”

“Our community has been devastated by systematic racism and oppression for decades. We saw it through the viral pandemic that swept through our neighborhood, killing so many in its wake, and we see it now through unchecked police force and brutality. We must not only work to right the injustices we face, but we must invest in and heal communities of color so that we are able to progress and thrive. I stand committed to pushing our Caucus’ legislative agenda to ensure we provide the transparency and accountability our community deserves,” said Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz.

“A labor law that conceals bad behavior and protects cops who’ve violated their oath to impartially defend the public does nothing but endanger New Yorkers, especially black and brown communities who are disproportionately targeted by those cops. We need to repeal 50-a if we want to dismantle the systemic racism reinforced by the police and rebuild trust within our communities. My colleagues and I have presented a crucial package of legislation that would protect civilian privacy and public safety, but we must first ensure police transparency and blow the cover behind which many police officers are hiding," said State Senator Jessica Ramos.

“Toppling hundreds of years of oppression requires hard work and tough conversations, and ultimately legislative action,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “We must all recommit ourselves to advancing racial justice. Together, channeling our pain into progress, we will create a more equitable, just and accountable state so Black New Yorkers can live with the inherent dignity every human being deserves.”

“This is a pivotal moment in our state’s history. The New York State lawmakers are committed to working to make sure that New York is a place that is safe for everyone regardless of the hue of their skin. We are committed to fight to enact the much-needed legislation expeditiously. We are also committed to working on improving structural inequities in our system,” said Assemblyman Clyde Vanel.

  1. Repeal of 50-a | A.2513/S.3695 (O’Donnell/Bailey)
  2. False 9-1-1 Complaints | A.3566 (Ortiz/Benjamin)
  3. Office of the Special Prosecutor | A.1601a/S.2574a (Perry/Bailey)
  4. Police STAT Act | A.5472/S.1830b (Lentol/Hoylman)
  5. Right to Monitor Act | A.1360a/S.3253 (Perry/Parker)
  6. Local Independent Oversight of Police | S.7527 (Richardson/Myrie)
  7. Medical Attention for Persons Under Arrest | A.8226/S.6601 (Fernandez/Bailey)
  8. Establishes the Crime of Strangulation | A.6144/S.6670a (Mosley/Benjamin)
  9. Failure to Obtain Medical Care | A.3056b/S.4076 (Fernandez/Biaggi)
  10. Bans Racial/Ethnic Profiling by Police | A.4615/S.1137A (Bichotte/Benjamin)
  11. Reducing Arrests for Non-Criminal Offenses | A.4053/S.2571 (Aubry/Bailey)
  12. Expanded Use of Law Enforcement Body Cameras
    1. Body Cameras for NYS Police | A.8674/S.6686 (Walker/Parker)
    2. Body Cameras for MTA Police | A.8493a/S.06793a (Reyes/Ramos)