The Bronx Defenders Written Comments for the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety

The Bronx Defenders’ Written Comments for the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety
Oversight: The Police Department’s Plan to Enhance Officer Trainings

September 8, 2014

The Bronx Defenders is a holistic public defender located in the South Bronx. Each year we represent over 30,000 people arrested in Bronx County. Nearly all of our clients are Black and Latino, and the great majority are arrested for low-level “quality of life” offenses like marijuana possession, trespassing, and turnstile jumping. We staff arraignments in the Bronx every week, and every week we meet people who have been brutally mistreated and falsely arrested by the NYPD. We work not only in the courthouse but also in the Bronx community, investigating cases, leading Know Your Rights trainings, staffing clinics, and holding Town Hall meetings and other community events. We thank the Council for the opportunity to submit testimony.

These comments were prepared jointly by Criminal Defense Attorney Emily Galvin, Civil Legal Advocate Phoebe Lytle, and Criminal Defense Investigator Daniel Loehr. Each section shares a valuable perspective on policing in the Bronx and all arrive at the same conclusion: Enhanced officer training—especially in the area of de-escalation—is important, but it is a small piece of a much bigger picture. The NYPD must change its entire approach to policing in order to begin to undo the damage of two decades of “Broken Windows” policing.

Read the full written testimony here: NYPD Oversight Hearing Written Comments 9-8-2014