Credit: Lem Peterkin

A political couple tag teams on police reform.

On a sunny, early June afternoon, New York City Council Member Inez Barron, New York State Assembly Member Charles Barron and several other attendees stood outside of One Police Plaza to announce the introduction of a new bill. A bill that would create an agency that would have more power than the Civilian Complaint Review Board. An agency that would have a bigger effect on policing in the city.

Inez and Charles both introduced legislation that would abolish the CCRB and institute an elected Civilian Review Board, an independent prosecutor and a separate investigative body. The elected board would consist of 21 members.

Barron said the recent legislation passed involving the repeal of 50-a, which would no longer hide the disciplinary records of police, doesn’t hold any weight and aren’t indicative of police violence against protesters the past several weeks.

He said the police reform bills passed in Albany this week don’t hold the police accountable.

“Today I’m supposed to be in a Zoom a meeting with the State Assembly to pass a bunch of watered-down, toothless reform packages,” said Barron.

According to StopPoliceViolence.org, an advocacy group campaigning for an ECRB, the newly-elected board would be held more accountable by New Yorkers due to them being elected, the board would be more empowered to investigate and make binding decisions, it would establish an elected independent prosecutor and force the New York Police Department to fully cooperate with all investigations and decisions.

Violence against protestors isn’t the only instance of law enforcement’s aggression to Black and Brown New Yorkers. There have been multiple controversies regarding how the police enforced social distancing with New Yorkers of color when compared to their white counterparts. Black and Brown New Yorkers were met with violence. White New Yorkers were met with verbal communication and sometimes officers handing them masks.

“Across the nation, Americans are experiencing a collective mourning that affects all of us, including our youth,” stated CCRB Chair Fred Davie. ‘Sadly, after years of witnessing news about police misconduct and possibly experiencing it themselves, even the youngest among us have an awareness of the tension that too often exists between the police and civilians.”

The CCRB recently analyzed more than 100 complaints involving young New Yorkers that the agency received between Jan. 2018 and June 2019. It showed young males of color between the ages of 10 and 18 were a “complainant and/or victim” in almost 65% of complaints involving youth, despite accounting for less than 5% of New York City’s population. Several of these interactions with the police involved New Yorkers between the ages of 10 and 18 being stopped for playing, high-fiving, running, carrying backpacks, and jaywalking.

“As young New Yorkers lead the way in calling for change in our city following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, it’s time for the NYPD to re-consider how officers police our youth, address disparities in law enforcement, and commit to swift discipline when officers engage in misconduct,” Davie concluded.

When it comes to complaints overall, out of about 4,500 complaints in 2017, 73% of CCRB’s recommendations were disregarded by the police.

Juanita Young, the mother of Malcom Ferguson, who was shot and killed by NYPD in 2000, said an independent prosecutor in City Hall is necessary. Young said filing a complaint with the CCRB is useless.

“For what?” asked Young.