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NYCLU to President Biden and Mayor Adams: Reduce Gun Violence by Investing in Communities, not More Police

NEW YORK CITY – Today, President Biden will meet with Mayor Adams to discuss solutions to the national gun violence crisis here in New York City.  New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman issued the following statement:

“We join Mayor Adams, President Biden, and all New Yorkers in mourning those lost to gun violence. When the president and Mayor Adams meet today, their focus must be on ways the Biden administration can support community initiatives that drive true public safety, like increased access to housing, employment assistance, expanded mental health care and treatment resources, violence interruption programs, and more.

“What New York City does not need is more federal resources to needlessly supercharge the NYPD, which already has the biggest budget and head count of any police force in the nation, or to impose blanket surveillance that will run roughshod over civil liberties and target communities of color. Mayor Adams has rightly acknowledged our city’s past policing wrongs, and we stood with him 15 years ago to take on an out of control and unaccountable stop-and-frisk regime. But we are deeply concerned about the mayor’s plans to restore the NYPD’s ‘anti-crime’ units, the direct descendants of the Street Crime Unit that came to symbolize the worst of abusive, racist, and deadly broken windows policing.

“In addition, Mayor Adams must not use President Biden’s visit today to continue his baseless attacks on common-sense reforms to the state’s criminal legal system that have worked. Bail reform has successfully protected thousands of city residents from the life-threatening horrors of Rikers Island while also keeping communities safe. Recent evidence-sharing reforms that allow people accused of crimes to see the cases against them have made for a fairer day in court. And the mayor betrays his call to invest in youth by suggesting that New York revert to a failed old system that doomed so many young people to adult punishments instead of support.

“To truly advance community-first responses to gun violence, we must also safeguard against excessive policing. President Biden and Mayor Adams should use today’s visit to discuss ways the president can deliver on his campaign promise of police reform. The president can lead the way on stronger use-of-force standards for police by issuing them for federal law enforcement. The president can promote mental health professionals as first responders to mental health crises by making funds available for non-police crisis teams, and by supporting the New York State bill known as Daniel’s Law. And President Biden can take executive action to stop the flow of funds for police departments across the country to purchase weapons of war.

“Tomorrow is the twenty third anniversary of the NYPD killing of an unarmed twenty-three-year-old Amadou Diallo. The anniversary is a fitting backdrop to Mayor Adams and President Biden’s meeting, a searing reminder of the consequence of so often reflexively asking police to solve our city’s toughest problems.”


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