Legal Aid Calls For Change

Today marks the 5 month anniversary of the death of Eric Garner. Our thoughts are with the Garner family, who continue to mourn the loss of their loved one, particularly as this holiday season approaches..

This city, our country and the world have united to protest the killing of black people and to demand changes to eliminate abusive policing tactics and broken windows policies and reform the criminal “justice” system. The Legal Aid Society lends our voice to the demand for real and immediate change. Since our formation in 1876 we have been the voice of millions of disenfranchised New Yorkers in court houses and communities across this city. Our clients deserve a life free from disproportionate, racially motivated police practices and unfair and unequal treatment in the criminal justice system. We must and will continue to fight for our clients in all three of our practices, Criminal, Civil and Juvenile Rights, recognizing that all our clients share the same needs, wants, aspirations and hopes as all New Yorkers.

On behalf of all our clients, staff and the communities we serve we call on:
Mayor de Blasio to insist on full accountability for all NYPD officers responsible for killing Eric Garner and Akai Gurley and all officers who brutalize New Yorkers.
The U.S. Department of Justice to convene grand juries to consider charges against the police officers responsible for the killing of Eric Garner, as well as other NYC residents such as Ramarley Graham.
Governor Cuomo to issue an executive order directing the Office of the Attorney General to serve as special prosecutor in all cases involving civilians killed or abused by police officers.
Governor Cuomo to veto legislation (S7801/A9853) that would allow New York police unions to make police disciplinary policies solely subject to contract negotiations.
Mayor de Blasio to end broken windows and other discriminatory and abusive policing practices. This includes discriminatory arrests for violations (non-criminal offenses), enforcement of possession of small amounts of marijuana, blanket surveillance of Muslim communities, and targeting members of the LGBT community and political activists.
Mayor de Blasio to stop the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of black children, some as young as 8 years old, and to put an end to the criminalization of children in schools across the City. 
Mayor de Blasio to work with the City Council to pass the Right to Know Act to protect New Yorkers’ rights and improve daily interactions between NYPD officers and New Yorkers.
The NYPD to publish quarterly and annual reports of summons and misdemeanor arrests, as well as use of force, including the  race, gender, gender identity, age, precinct, and other demographic data of individuals charged..
Further, this Friday, December 19, 2014 at 10am we will join Public Advocate Leticia James and the New York Civil Liberties Union before Acting Supreme Court Judge Stephen Rooney. We demand that the grand jury proceedings be made public in its entirety.