City Councilman Rory I. Lancman (D-Hillcrest) introduced three bills last week that would give police officers a misdemeanor for performing chokeholds and address police officers’ excessive use of force.
The first bill, which is being co-sponsored by Councilmen Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush) and Robert E. Cornergy, Jr. (D-Bedford Stuyvesant), is in response to the death of Eric Garner, who died in August as the result of a police chokehold during his arrest for a minor offense on Staten Island, other chokehold incidents and the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s acknowledgement that it has not sufficiently investigated chokehold complaints.
“I saw the Eric Garner video and I was just horrified and I was really, really disappointed when I saw that chokeholds had been barred by internal NYPD policy for two decades but we still see chokeholds happening far too often,” said Lancman, who is the chairman of the Committee on Courts & Legal Services, in a interview with TimesLedger.
For Lancman, the legislation addresses an issue that directly affects his constituents in his district, which consists of Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Hills, Briarwood, Jamaica Estates and Kew Gardens Hills. Residents often find themselves victims of the NYPD’s broken windows policy in which people are arrested for low-level offenses as well as the stop-and-frisk policy in the past.
“I’m hopeful, first and foremost, that we have fewer of those police interactions and we find better ways to maintain order in the city than by harassing young men of color over minor or even nonexistent offenses,” he said. “But for those interactions which will exist, we want them to be safe for both the officers and the citizens alike.”
Lancman also introduced two other bills. One bill would require the NYPD to record data on the use of force and make the data publicly available and the other bill would make it clear in the city charter that police officers are authorized to use force only if it is necessary in the given situation.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour
©2014 Community News Group
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