NEW YORK — Cornelius Fredericks, 16, was sitting at a table eating lunch when he was tackled by a staff member at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Soon after he hit the ground, two other staff members ran over to assist. They started restraining Fredericks for throwing food. The teen remained restrained for 12 minutes. It would be the last minutes of his life.
CORTLAND, N.Y. — As the Black Lives Matter movement here looks to turn its public support into political momentum, local libertarians are making a late push to align themselves with the movement that nationally was sparked by youth activism. The Libertarian Party in Cortland County — or the group of people trying to form it — has been slow to publicize its support for Black Lives Matter. At the center of this is state Assembly candidate Matthew McIntyre, who has actively reached out to the leaders of Black Lives Matter organizers in Cortland. He sees systemic police brutality against Black residents as a product of government overreach, the free market as an avenue for leveling the playing field and recent Black Lives Matters protests cut from the same cloth as “Reopen New York” protests, which Libertarians supported.
Many libertarians, including McIntyre, advocate for the decriminalization of nonviolent, victimless drug offenses and an end to the war on drugs. They also call for less government regulation on business, particularly business licensing.
Black Lives Matter organizers here are concerned about whether the libertarian support will be genuine in the long term, after the spotlight on protests and police reforms dims. Melissa Kiser and Steve Williams, two organizers of Black Lives Matter in Cortland, have spent the past few weeks educating themselves on libertarianism, how their views align and if a partnership will result in what Williams calls “piggyback protesting” — when movements and organizations use momentum from Black Lives Matter to advance their own agendas.
It’s a concern that national leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have about the Democratic Party.
NEW YORK — The Surrogate’s Court in Lower Manhattan received a fresh coat of paint — albeit an unprompted one, after graffiti, as colorful in its language as it was in its incandescence, was scrawled across the building by anti-police protesters. Nearby, an elevator shaft for the City Hall 4/5/6 train was covered in scraps of cardboard etched with messages memorializing the lives of Black Americans killed by police. Demonstrators had encamped in the area around City Hall for days while inside city officials dealt with one of the most significant political issues of their time — how to effect massive reforms to the nation’s largest police department without sacrificing public safety. The solution from city leaders, much to the consternation of some protesters who envisioned a wholesale removal of police altogether, has been to enact a massive shift in funding away from the New York Police Department (NYPD), to the tune of nearly $1 billion, and reinvest it into communities of color. After midnight this morning the City Council voted on a budget that includes deep cuts to NYPD personnel and shifts millions to other city agencies.
The New York City Department of Corrections will discipline 17 officers for their conduct surrounding the death of 27-year-old Layleen Polanco, a transgender Rikers Island inmate being housed in solitary confinement.
CORTLAND, N.Y. — Few people downtown would look Steve Williams in the eye. Not the police officers stationed at each end of Courthouse Park. Not the two white families at his front and back, who called past him to greet each other.
Williams had come there not in support of the protest but as a critic, centered around one central question: How long would it take a stranger holding a Black Lives Matter sign to acknowledge Williams, a Black man? “It’s lacking that passion. Y’all know that passion when you really mean something?
Activists in New York are challenging NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s account of a May 30 incident where police in Brooklyn rammed two patrol cruisers into a crowd of protestors and metal barricades, sending demonstrators flying.
After weeks of emotionally charged youth-led protests calling for sweeping reforms to root racism out of the criminal justice system in the streets, the New York City Council passed a package of bills today targeting the New York Police Department for major changes.
NEW YORK — After weeks of protest across New York, state and local elected officials are still scrambling to develop plans to divert funding from police departments, and deciding to reallocate the funds toward youth-based social services.
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order stating funding will be withheld if any local police department — including the New York Police Department — does not implement plans that reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs based on community input, the statement said. In a joint statement released late Friday afternoon, New York City Council leaders, including the co-chairs of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus and Speaker Corey Johnson, announced their intentions to “cut over $1 billion dollars, including reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS [Other Than Personal Service, or nonsalary] spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses.”
Johnson had indicated his willingness to support reforms earlier in the week, and expressed frustration that initial budget cuts forced by coronavirus were not sufficient. “As we have said, a less than one percent cut to the NYPD and a 32% cut to Department of Youth and Community Development is not representative of our values and the City Council will not approve a budget that fails to significantly reduce the NYPD budget and start us on a path to bringing structural change and transformational reforms to the police department,” a statement from Johnson’s office said Wednesday. Reallocating the funding is expected to produce a raucous debate among city officials, no matter how much money is taken from the department, with no clear sense of where the money should go. In a statement, the president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) predicted that if the city moved forward with its plan to cut funding, crime could increase as a result.
“For decades, every time a city agency failed at its task, the city’s answer was to take the job away and give it to the NYPD.