NEW YORK - Over the weekend, thousands across the state gathered to protest police violence against Black people and demand justice for the victims of racist murders in recent weeks. Law enforcement departments in various cities met protesters with extreme force, and various elected officials implemented curfews. In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Executive Director, Donna Lieberman:
“Thousands of New Yorkers joined people across the country this weekend to protest violence against Black people and demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and others. Law enforcement met these demonstrations with riot gear, tear gas, and rubber bullets. In New York, police officers provoked peaceful protesters, drove police vehicles dangerously into crowds, and covered up their badge numbers. In Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and Albany, curfews have been put in place, a move that is designed to limit demonstrations and will inevitably be enforced mostly against Black and Brown New Yorkers.
“But it isn’t the protesters who need curfews, it’s the police. There is no excusing the police terror we have seen this weekend against protesters. We cannot move forward when the response to protesting police brutality against Black people is more police brutality.
“We need accountability at all levels. We need accountability for officers who used potentially lethal force and put people’s lives in danger. We need accountability for elected officials and law enforcement leadership for blaming protestors and condoning – even praising – police violence. And we need accountability for our entire criminal justice system: a system that targets and overpolices communities of color, allows police to harm the people they’re sworn to protect without consequences, and does not value Black lives.
“We will continue to demand accountability and true justice.”