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NYCLU in the News

Dec
21
2011
Syracuse police, professionals, advocates have discussed how to handle people in a mental health crisis

In late October, the Syracuse Police Department met with several groups and professionals to examine how officers respond to people in a mental health crisis...If someone threatens police with a deadly weapon — and officers believe their lives or the lives of others are in danger — they are authorized to shoot under state law, said Barrie Gewanter, director of the local New York Civil Liberties Union chapter. “If somebody points a firearm at the police, officers are trained to draw their weapon, and if they fire, to aim at central mass,” Gewanter said. Officers also consider closeness to the person, threats made, the chance of disarming the person and the person’s size and strength, Gewanter said.  View original item...

Dec
20
2011
Occupy Buffalo movement expands to Lafayette Square

Five people in the growing Occupy Buffalo community in Niagara Square moved last weekend...John A. Curr III, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s regional office here, which helped broker the Buffalo deal, credited both sides for creating a dialogue, understanding each other’s position and learning from mistakes made in other cities. “We have people on both sides of the table who get it, who understand what it’s all about,” Curr said.  View original item...

Dec
20
2011
The War on Occupy Christmas

New York City can be a real grinch sometimes, especially if you're a protest movement with a history of antagonizing the authorities. Occupy Wall Street is starting to make its Christmas plans, and as the holiday draws near it's clashed with the municipal and corporate authorities in Zuccotti Park in a couple of ways that really bring out the Scrooge in City Hall. Both incidents have to do with the ban on a whole array of items in Zuccotti Park, which park owner Brookfield Office Properties continues to enforce with the help of the New York Police Department and a ring of metal barricades...Meanwhile, another Occupy group, the Christian-oriented Occupy Faith, really wants to hold a 24-hour Christmas prayer vigil in Zuccotti that would involve food and musical instruments, which are both banned under Brookfield's park rules. The NYCLU has sent letters to Brookfield and the city asking them "to allow the group to bring items into the park, including food, chairs, prayer mats and musical instruments, during the vigil." But so far the company hasn't changed its policy. "Occupy Faith will not violate any of the park rules," the NYCLU wrote. "The vigil will not include camping, erecting structures, lying on the ground, placing tarps and sleeping bags on the property, or anything else that unreasonably interferes with others’ ability to enjoy the park."  View original item...

Dec
19
2011
Occupy Faith Planning 24-Hour Christmas Vigil at Zuccotti, If Brookfield Allows

A group called Occupy Faith is planning to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil in Zuccotti Park from midnight on Christmas Eve to midnight the next day, and they're worried that Brookfield Properties won't allow it to happen. Occupy Christmas would involve food and musical instruments, two things that Brookfield security usually bans from ZP. After the eviction of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield installed guards in the park to enforce the new regime, which includes restrictions against camping gear and lying down. They reached out to the NYCLU, who sent a letter to Brookfield and to the NYPD asking that the demonstrators not be obstructed...NYCLU rep Jennifer Carnig told us that Brookfield "hasn't responded at all to the organizers." "There have been issues with bringing things in the park, including food," Carnig said. "They can't hold their Christmas celebration without food and music."  View original item...

Dec
19
2011
Christian Protesters Ask Brookfield To Hold 24-Hour Christmas Vigil In Zuccotti

Members of Occupy Faith, "a small group of Christians, brought together by our time living at Occupy Wall Street," is asking Brookfield Properties to allow then to host a 24-hour prayer vigil in Zuccotti Park on Christmas Eve. With the assistance of the NYCLU, the group has drafted a letter to city [pdf] officials and Bookfield, detailing the ceremony that will begin "with a midnight service on Christmas Eve and culminate with a closing ceremony at midnight on Christmas Day." Additionally, the vigil calls for Occupy Faith to "bring into the park food for meals as well as bread and sacramental wine for communion," as well as the requisite instruments.  View original item...

Nov
29
2011
NYCLU: Over 90 Percent Of Summer School Arrests Involved Students Of Color

The New York Civil Liberties Union took a close look at New York City Police Department statistics and the ethnicity of the 63 public school students who were arrested between July and September of this year. "Of the people who were arrested, 68 percent were African-American children. The total number of students of color accounted for over 90 percent," said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU. The NYCLU says that is a disturbing disparity for black students, who make up only 29 percent of the student population during the school year..."The Bloomberg administration has to look closely at what police are doing in our schools. Are police arresting kids for minor infractions of school rules?" said Lieberman.  View original item...

Nov
28
2011
Arrests in City Schools Affect Mostly Black Students

School-safety officers at the city’s middle and high schools made 63 arrests during a 43-day period last spring, and more than two-thirds of those arrested were African-American students, according to statistics released Monday by the New York Police Department...Critics saw the racial disparity as evidence of problems with the NYPD’s school-safety program. “The data raise concerns about black students being disproportionately arrested in the city’s schools,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. A similar disparity exists among the ranks of students facing suspension from school. More than half of the suspensions last year were issued to African-American students, an analysis by the NYCLU found...The rights group charged the Bloomberg administration with devoting too many resources to policing students. “Why are we employing 5,400 [school] police personnel and only 3,000 guidance counselors?” asked Udi Ofer, advocacy director for the NYCLU.  View original item...

Nov
28
2011
NYPD statistics show one student a day is arrested in public schools, and 93% are black or Hispanic

Cops arrest an average of one student a day in city schools - nearly always a black or Hispanic boy, newly released data shows. The New York Civil Liberties Union said the statistics are “troubling” and confirm its suspicions about “over-policing.” “When students are treated as suspects, it discourages them from going to school and undermines the nurturing climate that is essential for learning,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said...Cops arrest an average of one student a day in city schools - nearly always a black or Hispanic boy, newly released data shows. The New York Civil Liberties Union said the statistics are “troubling” and confirm its suspicions about “over-policing.” “When students are treated as suspects, it discourages them from going to school and undermines the nurturing climate that is essential for learning,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said.  View original item...

Nov
28
2011
Minorities arrested in city schools

An average of four students were arrested or ticketed each day during public summer school this year, according to an analysis released yesterday by the New York Civil Liberties Union. About 94 percent of those students were black or Latino, and 83 percent were male, the group reported, after studying arrest records from July to September. “The data raise concerns about black students being disproportionally arrested in the city’s schools,” said the NYCLU's executive director, Donna Lieberman. Udi Ofer, an advocacy director at the NYCLU, said more police are stationed in schools than guidance counselors.  View original item...

Nov
28
2011
New data show arrests in schools mostly of black, Latino males

New York City police officers arrested or ticketed an average of four students per day in schools over a four-month period this summer and fall...“The data raise concerns about black students being disproportionally arrested in the city’s schools,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union...Udi Ofer, the NYCLU’s advocacy director, said the new data renewed questions about the city’s approach to student discipline.“Instead of arresting students who need the most help, the Bloomberg administration should redirect resources from police to services that support student achievement,” Ofer said in a statement. “Why are we employing 5,400 police personnel [in schools] and only 3,000 guidance counselors?”  View original item...

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