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Rapid Response Alert - New York City, NY

NYPD Must Be Held Accountable for Inequitable Policing of Black Communities During COVID-19

 

On May 3, 2020, New York City witnessed in absolute horror the video of  33-year old Donni Wright, an innocent bystander who witnessed the physically aggressive arrest of a Black man and woman accused of violating social distancing ordinances while in conversation outside of a store. Wright was wrestled to the ground by Undercover Police Officer Francisco Garcia who after drawing his taser gun, dragged Wright, threw him on the ground and repeatedly slapped and punched him in the head while another officer attempted to handcuff the helpless young Black man.  Officer Garcia was not wearing a mask, gloves, or any other protective equipment during the time of the attack, putting Mr. Wright at potential risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus.

The bogus assault charges against Donni Wright have been dropped, Officer Garcia has been confined to desk duty, and his gun has been confiscated. Still, his salary continues to be paid by taxpayers of New York City after this heinous attack and breach of civil rights of a young Black man. 

In other examples, in East New York, Brooklyn, an officer viciously punched one man in the face while enforcing social distancing rules at a nighttime cookout. Another dispute in the same neighborhood resulted in a man being knocked unconscious. 

The violent attacks on people in the Black community by officers who have sworn to serve and protect must end now. 

Members of M.O.B.B. United for Social Change have also witnessed and reported stark differences in how NYPD is addressing social distancing in White communities as opposed to Black communities. In Brooklyn alone, since the social distancing ordinance was put into effect, 40 people have been arrested for disobeying social distancing ordinances; 35 of them were Black and from Black neighborhoods.  (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/nyregion/nypd-social-distancing-race-coronavirus.html)

On Staten Island, there are reports that NYPD officers are demanding Black drivers “take off their masks and gloves” because they do not need them while driving.  Whereas in Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn, droves of White people have gathered in parks without proper social distancing or masks, and NYPD has responded by ignoring the violations or by passing out free masks.

 

Call To Action

Make no mistake, we hold NYPD leadership, namely NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Mayor Bill DeBlasio, responsible for the violent, unsafe actions of their subordinates and demand immediate change.  M.O.B.B. United For Social Change is outraged with the indisputable contrast in treatment between Black and White citizens of New York City during this horrific pandemic.

  • We demand that NYPD implement a social distancing internal policy that has a built-in equity component, which uniformly holds all citizens accountable for breaking social distancing rules and which provides penalties for officers who violate the policy.
  • Due to the large number of cases of COVID-19 in NYC and the more than 7,000 NYPD employees who have called in sick due to COVID-19, M.O.B.B. United For Social Change also demands that all officers be REQUIRED to wear protective masks and gloves when patrolling neighborhoods or answering 911 calls, both for their own safety and for that of citizens.
  • We are also calling for the termination of Officer Francisco Garcia, who violated the civil rights of Donni Wright, an innocent bystander, and broke the ethical code he swore to uphold as a servant of the community.
  • Additionally, we demand leaders who have the authority and influence to make change do so now, without delay, or be removed from their office of authority and relieved of their duties -- specifically NYPD Chief Terence A. Monahan, NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea and Mayor Bill DeBlasio. This is a problem we will continue to face if our leaders don’t forcefully demand better from officers who patrol our communities.

We encourage moms and all concerned citizens to join us at the NY Civilian Complaint Review Board Meeting on Wednesday, May 13 from 6:30-8:30pm to stand together and raise our voices collectively about the inequities in New York City policing. Please use this link to register.

We also urge you to contact NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea directly to express your concerns by using this link: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/about/about-nypd/email-the-commissioner.page


 


M.O.B.B. United for Social Change, Inc. is a nationwide coalition of moms who are dedicated to making the world a safer place for Black boys and men by eradicating harassment, brutality and unwarranted use of deadly force by law enforcement and others against our sons. The group was born out of frustration over the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile in Minnesota and numerous other innocent Black boys and men killed by police before and after them. It has grown into a mobilized force of moms determined to make a difference. We aim to influence both policy and perception that impact how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement.

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M.O.B.B. United aims to provide information and support for moms of Black sons while promoting positive images of Black boys and men. Our goal is to influence policy impacting how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement and society.

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