For ny state residents
feel free to take the text below, include what you like, leave out what you don't and send!!
(I've placed some links and information about who to send this to below the letter)
We, the undersigned constituents of your district, urge you to stand with the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus in the Legislature to support the following:
- Legislation that would make it a hate crime to issue a false 911 complaint.
- The repeal of 50-a, the NYS law that enables police departments to hide officer misconduct and discipline information. (S3695/A2513)
- Legislation that would allow the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute all criminal cases against law enforcement. (S02574/A01601)
- The Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, which requires police departments to report on racial disparities in the enforcement of low-level encounters and the number of killings by police throughout New York State. (S1830A /A5472)
- Requires police officers and peace officers to issue appearance tickets to individuals charged with certain offenses instead of arresting such individuals. (S6360/A3201)
- Any and all legislation that would prohibit law enforcement from profiling based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
We need reform now. We ask that you act, on our behalf, to build trust between law enforcement and communities of color.
INFO ABOUT YOUR ELECTED RERESENTATION:
If you're in New Paltz, your state senator is Jen Metzger:
and your assemblyman is Kevin Cahill
If you wanna be a pain like me you'll write a separate note saying they should (have the email on the website instead of that silly form)
If you're not in New Paltz- heres a handy form to find out who is accountable to your votes
(there are lots of these and this is not my endorsement of this particular site)
Contacting your mayor, town supervisor, the governor, etc. will also be a useful enterprise.
a few observations: Keep in mind that while the president can set a tone (some do better than others), they are not particularly relevant in terms of police accountability- there is direct oversight by your local governance, and they are subject to state law. NYS civil rights law 50-a purportedly, due to overly broad interpretation, ties the hands of local officials to make transparent investigations of their agency. The effects of this can not be overstated- Eric Garner's murderer enjoyed years of immunity from accountability in large part due to this law. It was not the intent of the law...
At the federal level a far more difficult problem is "qualified immunity". The intent of this legal doctrine is to insure officers of the law will not be in constant fear of frivolous complaints- that good faith mistakes won't lead to damage to career, etc. It's interpretation has become so broad that there is almost nothing that pierces the shield of immunity. To my knowledge there is not legislation on deck to confront this issue. Everyone concerned about police accountability should get familiar with it. Ask about Senate candidates and presidential candidates views on this matter, as presidents choose judges and the Senate confirms them, and the issue is largely one created by the judiciary.