Deconstructing Policing and Prosecution in Suffolk County, 1640–2019

September 21, 2019 @ 12:45 pm 3:30 pm

Join the NYCLU Suffolk County Chapter at our Annual Membership Meeting. 

We will discuss the impact of and historical context for “broken windows” policing and prosecution in Suffolk County.

The broken windows theory, proposed by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982, states that signs of disorder in a neighborhood, like a broken window, encourages petty crimes and leads to more serious crimes. This postulation was adopted by the New York City Police Department and led to the criminalization of poverty and the over-policing of Black and Brown communities at disproportionate rates. The theory has never been proven to be effective at reducing crime.

Suffolk County District Attorney and former Police Commissioner Tim Sini has been holding “a series of community conversations on justice” throughout the county. During a meeting on May 20, 2019, Sini expressed his belief in the broken windows theory and his commitment to addressing “quality of life” issues with the power of the district attorney’s office. This will almost certainly contribute to increasing racial disparity in our local criminal legal system. It’s important that we are proactive in understanding what these policing and prosecution policies would mean for our communities and making police and prosecutors aware of our concerns.

Join us for an interactive historical gallery and discussion to learn about how Long Island’s history of legally-sanctioned segregation and structural racism set the stage for how our communities are policed today.

NYCLU Policy Counsel Nicole Triplett and Legal Aid Attorney and Outreach Director Liz Justesen will explain how broken windows policing and prosecution impacts communities, nationally and in Suffolk County.

Lunch will be served and English-to-Spanish interpretation will be provided.

NYCLU (ACLU) members should come prepared to vote to fill open board positions. If you aren’t sure if you are a member, contact Keith Kole at or call 212-607-3364. You do not have to be a member of NYCLU/ACLU to attend the event, only for voting.

Further reading:

How Prosecutors and the Courts Perpetuate Broken-Windows Policy

A Professor Breaks Down the Dubious Science Behind Broken Windows Policing

A Sociologist on Broken Windows and More Promising Alternatives


12:45 pm - 3:30 pm
NYCLU Suffolk County Chapter Annual Membership Meeting