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New Yorkers fight back against NYPD fascism with a rally for The Community Safety Act

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NYPD hands of LGBT community
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NYPD hands of LGBT community by Cory V. Clark

Hundreds of New Yorkers from all walks of life, young, old, black, white it didn't matter, descended on city hall to tell the Mayor they weren't going to put up with NYPD's discriminatory practices any more.

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Groups began gathering in front of city Hall at 10:30 am, as the crowd reached capacity an hour later people began chanting things such as, "housing not jails."


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A Community stands agianst NYPD abuses by Cory V. Clark

They had come from all over the city and even from as far away as western Pennsylvania to demand justice and accountability for NYPD. Stop and Frisk has infected other cities outside of the big apple such as, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh despite the fact that statistics show that communities can be made safe without these fascist and xenophobic policies.

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"I'm tired of letting the police, police themselves, this is not a black and brown problem it's a problem for all communities," Said Vincent Warren Executive Director of Center for Constitutional Rights.     


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"Our communities are standing up to reject discriminatory policing like stop and frisk abuses, surveillance of Muslim communities, and the lack of police accountability that have continued for far too long. The Community Safety Act represents reforms our city's police department needs, and the city council must pass these bills," said Yul-san Liem a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform.


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The rally was organized after community members met with city council, to let them know how the current policing policies and the lack of oversight are affecting their communities. Dozens of groups participated in the rally calling for an end to discriminator police practices and to hold police accountable for their actions.

Parts of the bill are a reaffirmation of the Bill of Rights protecting New Yorkers from illegal searches, which those subject to the stop and frisk often endure.

These illegal searches have in large part contributed to the explosion of youth going to prison for petty nonviolent drug offenses.

 


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Protest our youth from the NYPD by Cory V. Clark

"Today, we join together as brothers and sisters in this struggle to tell NYPD and the Mayor's office all New Yorkers deserve to live free," Said Stuart Appelbaum President of the Retail, Wholesale and department Store Union.

According to the departments own records, the number of people stopped in New York went from about 97,000 a year, before Mayor Bloomberg took office, up to 685,724 in 2011, 90% of them being neither arrested nor cited for any violation.

"We know from NYPD data, that they target black and brown teens and LGBTQ, I'm tired of my body, my sexual orientation being policed by NYPD," Said Mitchel Laurel.

NYPD often targets other groups as well such as activists and journalists. New York has one of the worst records on personal freedom in the United States coming in at forty-eight in many areas, last place in others, according to "Freedom in the fifty States, a report by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.

"Stop and Frisk undermines the safety of our communities and creates a rift between law enforcement and residents, too many people have been victimized by NYPD policies," said Appelbaum.

"Every New Yorkers wants to be safe in their neighborhood but when young people of color don't have the freedom to walk the streets without harassment, that's not safety," Marie Pierre, Chair of NYCC Board.

We are not anti-police, we are pro-communities, we need to work with police in our communities, but who profits of so called reasonable suspicion in these stops, not the community," NYC City Council member Jumaane Williams.   "Whose side are the police on?"


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Five New York City Council members signed a public promise to push through the Communities Safety Act, vowing to fight for the rights and safety of their constituents, by reforming police policies and developing a system of oversight.

As part of the bill to ensure proper police conduct, officers would be required to identify themselves by name, badge number, and by presenting the individuals stop with their card and information on how to file a complaint. In addition police will be required to explain to the individual stopped exactly why they are being stopped, what made them suspicious and what law the officer believe they were violating.


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The act also establishes a separate Inspector General as an independent investigative body for police complaints.

Councilperson Williams is the primary sponsor of this bill.

"I am proud to be the prime sponsor of this piece of legislation and even prouder to join my colleagues today in calling for greater NYPD accountability, Said Williams.     


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By the end of the rally the crowd had swelled beyond the designated area, due to passersby. The chanting had had swelled to ear splitting levels before a final series of speeches from various community figures and a concert a high school hip-hop group before the crowd dispersed without incident.

 

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Cory Clark is an Independent Photojournalist and writer, focused on Civil and Human Rights issues, National and international politics, and Social Justice Movements. He is currently working to document the lives of the homeless from their (more...)
 

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