So many of us are still reeling from the failure to indict in the Eric Garner case. And our hearts continue to ache over the tragic deaths of Akai Gurley and countless others. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that no more names are ever added to this list.
That starts with directly confronting all the ways our justice system unfairly targets young men of color. And it must include implementing policies to restore badly damaged trust between police and communities, and to hold accountable those few officers who abuse their authority. That’s why I was proud to stand today with NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in calling for his office to serve as special prosecutor in all cases in which the actions of a police officer lead to the death of an unarmed civilian.
Our city needs nothing short of a cultural shift in the way we conduct policing. We need to teach officers to focus on problem-solving and communication, and to de-escalate conflict before it gets out of control. I am pleased by Mayor de Blasio’s recently announced plan to retrain the entire NYPD along these lines. And we must pull back from the overly aggressive enforcement of minor infractions which has led to so many dangerous confrontations.
I am immensely proud at how our city has responded to this crisis in recent days. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers--people of all ages, races, and backgrounds--have taken to the streets to demand justice. To date there has not been a single reported incident of violence in these protests. I urge everyone to continue to speak out--peacefully--until we overcome injustice and build a society we can all be proud of.