The New York Civil Liberties Union today submitted testimony to the New York City Council Public Safety Committee demanding increased oversight and transparency regarding the NYPD’s use of force, officer training, and violations enforcement.
“Eric Garner’s tragic death highlights the disastrous consequences of NYPD policies that aggressively target low-level nonviolent offenses and rely on excessive force,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Black and Latino New Yorkers are more likely to be the subjects of force than their neighbors. The City Council must act today to bring transparency, oversight and accountability to the Police Department’s training and enforcement priorities. It’s time for the NYPD to abandon broken windows policing and to make training in de-escalation tactics a key part of police training.”
The hearing was convened in response to Commissioner Bratton’s announcement that he would review the NYPD’s use of force training following the death of Eric Garner, who died in police custody when an NYPD officer subjected him to an illegal chokehold for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner’s death brought national attention to NYPD officers’ use of excessive and sometimes deadly force on citizens for minor, non-violent infractions.
The NYCLU‘s recommendations ask the Council to:
- Demand transparency around violations enforcement, particularly demographic information and use of force;
- Require that the NYPD produce information around the frequency and content of trainings officers receive regarding using force during police/civilian encounters; and
- Increase oversight of the use of force training used by the NYPD. This should include requiring that the NYPD create opportunities for stakeholders to weigh on proposed changes or new trainings, and ensuring the NYPD is adopting best practices in its training and policies.