NEW YORK CITY – In response to Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams’s joint announcement today establishing omnipresent NYPD subway enforcement that will surveil and intimidate New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman issued the following statement:
“Today, Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams have unabashedly emboldened the NYPD when New Yorkers have taken to the streets and the polls to fight for exactly the opposite outcome.
“The NYPD should not, under any circumstances, be first responders to people in need of clinical expertise. Mental health crises should be addressed with a trauma-informed response, not an approach that inflicts further trauma and endangers the lives of the very people the NYPD is supposed to serve. The solution to homelessness is permanent affordable housing, not criminalizing poverty.
“We need policies that shift our vision of how our city responds to people in crisis. With the support of Daniel Prude’s family, there is a proposed bill in Albany known as Daniel’s Law, which holds the promise of a different way. Daniel’s Law will help New York state treat mental health crises as they are: public health crises, not public safety threats. It will ensure mental health experts are the first responders to mental health crises, not police. And finally, Daniel’s Law will take the power away from police and put local mental health experts in charge of how these crises are addressed.
“We need leadership that will treat New Yorkers in crisis with dignity, not negate their existence. State lawmakers must pass Daniel’s Law and prioritize social services over police surveillance.”