November 24, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VOCAL-NY Slams NYPD “Community Panels”, Demands Independent Process
New York City (November 23, 2020) – In response to NYPD’s “Community Panels” related to police reform, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to the leaders of of VOCAL-NY’s Civil Rights Union
“Last month NYPD hosted a series of panels to supposedly provide a community framework around reform of the department’s abusive and dangerous, racially motivated policing. These panels are a direct result of the protests against the death of George Floyd and seem to have come into existence because there was pressure from a majority of white citizens to make change in the police department. Black and brown people have historically marched and protested to police and systemic violence with no end result.
We are very concerned and disappointed with the way these so-called community listening panels have operated. They are a sham. The manner in which these panels have been organized exposes a fundamental problem with the NYPD: the lack of transparency and accountability to the public. There was no space for input from the communities, groups, and individuals that hold a deep understanding of how the cops treat us. The only speakers allowed on the panels were law enforcement or their friends.
Nothing in these panels addressed the harm to murder victims of the NYPD such as Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham who was chased into his home, where the police forced open the door and slaughtered him in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old young brother. People have been traumatized by the NYPD and these panels allowed no acknowledgement of this. We have not seen a promise to decrease violence against the people by the police.
We seek an independent forum to meaningfully address and have redress from the numerous violations by the NYPD. Furthermore we need to defund the NYPD and to invest in the community in order to address the root causes of social issues. If our community’s fundamental needs were met, we would not need the police and especially would not need these panels.”