The law enforcement response to protesters outraged by the killing of George Floyd and demanding justice for Black lives made one thing abundantly clear: governments throughout New York rely on heavily militarized law enforcement agencies to manage and respond to protest. And in turn, the appearance and behavior of these armed officers – predictably and by design – has spread not “public safety,” but terror, escalation, and violence. This is a systemic failure of our democracy – and underscores the very reasons why New Yorkers do, and must, remain in the streets demanding justice. 

From the many documented incidents of excessive force, to the arrests of journalists, interrogations of protesters’ political beliefs, and the contempt with which officers attempted to evade accountability by concealing their identifying information, the actions of police departments across New York the demonstrate the need for independent oversight and investigation.

Read the full testimony below.