Bronx Defenders Statement on Mayor de Blasio’s Police Reform Plan

NEW YORK – Mayor de Blasio today released a proposed police ‘reform and reinvention’ plan for New York City as mandated by Governor Cuomo’s executive order 203.

Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders, issued the following response:

“While the Mayor claims that this plan was developed with community input, that is not the case. Instead, the Mayor ceded control of this process to the NYPD, ensuring a pre-ordained outcome that is little more than smoke and mirrors designed to reinforce and justify the status quo. The public ‘listening sessions’ convened hastily by the NYPD were shams in which speakers were hand-selected and impacted communities were not invited to meaningfully participate.

Not surprisingly, there is nothing in this report that speaks to the kind of transformation that would shrink the footprint of the NYPD, redress the intergenerational harm it has caused, or invest resources in impacted communities — which is the change this city urgently needs. The reforms proposed in the Mayor’s report are the same superficial, garden-variety changes that have gotten us to this point in the first place. For example, the report promises a culture change with fruitless programs like “Shout out a Co-Worker” while failing to remove police officers with a history of misconduct from the force entirely. Even more problematically, the Mayor casts the NYPD’s racially biased police practices as a problem of history, when it was less than a year ago that the NYPD kettled scores of Black and brown protesters in The Bronx, beat them with batons, and instigated a mass unlawful arrest — an operation Commissioner Shea said was ‘executed nearly flawlessly.’

This report does not challenge the NYPD, but instead seeks to ‘expand,’ ‘enhance,’ ‘strengthen,’ and ‘consolidate’ its role. If the recommendations in this report are adopted, there will be little change, no transformation, and the Department’s bloated budget will remain untouched. This City owes more than this to impacted people, their families, and their communities.

In the past year, thousands of New Yorkers have taken to the streets with demands that continue to be ignored. Meaningful change means taking on the institutional rot within the NYPD head-on. It means radically shrinking the NYPD’s footprint so that the city can invest in people, not police.”