Joint statement from the leadership of The Legal Aid Society and The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325
SUNDAY, JULY 17, 2016

It is now two years after Eric Garner, a son, husband and father, was choked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo and yet his family and community have seen no justice. Because the officers who unjustifiably killed our client have not been disciplined and continue to work at the NYPD, we still can't breathe. Because the City refuses to admit that "broken windows" policing is not good policy and recently has disputed a valid study demonstrating no link between broken windows and public safety, we still can't breathe.

When the police arrest people for filming them and the prosecutors won't dismiss charges despite evidence proving our clients' innocence, we still can't breath. While 16 and 17 year-olds are treated as adults in the criminal justice system despite scientific research proving they are children who need services, not prison, we still can't breathe. When tens of thousands of this City's residents, especially our youth, are homeless, we still can't breathe. While trans people continue to be arrested for prostitution based solely on how they dress and identify, we still can't breathe.

Enough is enough. The bureaucratic in-fighting between the NYPD and Department of Justice must come to an end. We demand real change, transparency and accountability. The Legal Aid Society of New York and the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 will not rest until we get justice for Eric Garner and all New Yorkers.

Seymour W. James, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society
Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice
Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice
Tamara Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice
Deborah Wright, President of The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325