(Photo from Twitter: @nycpa)
NEW YORK (77 WABC) — The state is making moves to address police reform in the wake of the George Floyd death by cops in Minneapolis that includes the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act.
“The governor’s Say Their Name package is much better than the mayor’s,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said. “What often happens is the other leadership is so terrible, the governor’s leadership looks like it’s awesome.”
As for the initiatives put forth by Mayor de Blasio: “It wasn’t really worth the paper it was put on,” Williams said.
He pointed to the de Blasio administration’s reinterpretation of 50-a (disclosure of police disciplinary records) that was “worse than Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani. So we went backwards under this administration,” Williams said. “…Accountability and transparency are not the two buckets that have moved forward.”
Williams, who took part in many of the recent protests across the city, said the curfew, even after several nights of fires and looting, was unnecessary.
“All the curfew did was tell people the time that they have to come out now to continue protests,” Williams said.
Also, the public advocate said that led to incidents of aggressive behavior from officers.
“The mayor and the governor can pretend that this was all because of the curfew, but there were other things that were at play. They think they needed that because they failed at the beginning.”
Many protesters held signs “Defund the Police,” something de Blasio is pushing to shift money away from the NYPD and into minority communities for a focus on youth and social services.
The phrase has become a rallying cry after numerous videos have shown police brutality. President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have weighed in. Both are in opposition to the defunding.
Williams, however, said an overhaul of policing is required.
“Police departments’ budgets are exorbitantly large. Police are often equated with public safety and that’s a narrative we have to change…. Defunding the police shouldn’t be a situation where people are surprised by it. It’s a conversation that’s been going on for a very long time.”
Whatever happens in the future with the NYPD, Williams cautioned, “There will be an entity that is responsible for law enforcement. That is a role and function in any society. What we need to do is figure out how best to do that.”