Press Statements

VOCAL-NY Responds to the Police Assault of an 8-Year-Old in Syracuse

April 21, 2022

CONTACT: Mariah McGough,

This is a Clear Example of Criminalizing Poverty

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In response to the arrest of an 8-year-old boy in Syracuse on Tuesday, VOCAL-NY released the following response:

“Under no circumstance does an alleged possession of a bag of chips warrant excessive force and dismissal of a child’s humanity,” said Breyana Clark, VOCAL-NY Western New York Campaigns Coordinator. ”To create a path for justice we must condemn these acts of violence in the strongest possible way and demand change at both the local, state, and national level. VOCAL-NY’s Syracuse Chapter vows to hold a community forum to discuss a path forward — one that eliminates the criminalization of poverty and prioritizes community restorative justice.”

“No matter race, creed, or color, you do not handle children that way,” said Corbin Bryant, a leader with VOCAL-NY’s Syracuse Chapter. “I never thought I would see my city go through this. I grew up in poverty. I lived from place to place and had many challenges. That child could have been me. We cannot continue to criminalize poverty. We need more resources — not more police.”

Police brutality of Black and Brown children has been excused and allowed for far too long. Western New York is no stranger to violence by police, and this arrest is just the latest example of the harm of criminalization. An internal investigation led by the very police department that caused this harm is not enough. We call on the Syracuse delegation in the statehouse and the Syracuse City Council to hold these officers accountable and bring justice to this family. Syracuse lawmakers have the opportunity to provide a path for justice by Ending Qualified Immunity in NYS.  


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