THE LEGAL AID SOCIETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR POLICE REFORM NYS EO 203
This past year has been challenging for all of us; politics, Covid-19, shut-downs, Zoom meetings, and social unrest. The viral videos of a black man (George Floyd) callously being murdered in front of the camera by police officers galvanized the public to join in protests against police brutality wit BLM (Black Lives Matter). BLM was not a new movement; it began in 2013 after the acquittal of Mr. Zimmerman in killing a teenager, Trayvon Martin. Additionally, we cannot forget the killings at the hands of the law enforcement of so many black women. We always must remember Breonna Taylor and the other women of #SayHerName. There must be change; many officers still hold biases. A few days ago, Rochester, New York police officers pepper-sprayed a nine-year-old black female child, already handcuffed and in the back of a patrol car. It is a rhetorical question to ask, "would they have done this to a white child?" In response to the protests and the growing acceptance of the significant disparities in arrests of persons of color, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 203, Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. The order requires each local government in New York State to adopt a policing reform plan that will maintain public safety while building mutual trust and respect between police and the communities they serve. I have the privilege of working with the Town of Greenburgh's committee, Greenburgh Against Systemic Racism (GASR). Councilwoman Gina Jackson brought an incredible team of people to take on this arduous task of EO203 review. The GASR members provided many of the insights and suggestions for LASW's recommendations. If you need an example of an extraordinary report, look no further than the Town of Greenburgh. I challenged my attorneys to participate in the various committees and identify those areas of most concern to the LASW. This report is the result of their collective efforts. With the collaboration of Sherry Levin Wallach, Deputy Executive Director; Harvey Loeb, Deputy Chief Counsel; and Vishakha Patel, Chief of the Family Court Division, LASW presents the following recommendations.