State Attorney General Calls for Stripping N.Y.P.D. Control From Mayor

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One officer in Brooklyn pulled down a protester’s mask and pepper-sprayed him. Another officer shoved a young woman to the ground, knocking her head against the pavement and giving her a concussion. An officer in Manhattan pulled a gun and waved it at protesters after one of his colleagues was hit in the head with an thrown object.

These incidents were described in a lengthy report that the state attorney general released Wednesday after hearings into the Police Department’s handling of recent protests against police brutality and racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Saying the protests had shaken New Yorkers’ belief in the Police Department, the attorney general, Letitia James, recommended that an independent panel — not the mayor — should appoint the police commissioner and oversee the hiring and firing of officers.

“It is impossible to deny that many New Yorkers have lost faith in law enforcement,” Ms. James said during a call with reporters to discuss her findings. “I believe we need to bridge the undeniable divide between police and the public.”

Appointing an independent commission to oversee the city’s police force would be a landmark change for the New York City government. Since the 19th century, the police commissioner has served at the mayor’s pleasure, inextricably linking the political fortunes of City Hall to the Police Department.

To change that arrangement would most likely require actions by the City Council and State Legislature and would face opposition not only from City Hall but from police unions and leaders of the Police Department, an insular institution that historically has been slow to embrace such foundational shifts.

The report comes as a political movement to rein in police powers and hold officers accountable for abuse has gained momentum, not just in the city, but across the nation. In New York City, tens of thousands of people have marched in the streets protesting police brutality.

The demonstrations, which have lasted more than six weeks, have led to new state laws outlawing aggressive policing tactics like chokeholds and making police disciplinary records more transparent. Responding to calls from protesters to “defund the police,” the City Council has shifted close to $1 billion from the department’s $6 billion budget.

In May, Gov. Cuomo appointed Ms. James to investigate the interactions between the New York Police Department and the public, after widespread reports that the police had pepper sprayed, attacked and violently arrested peaceful protesters.

Ms. James, a Brooklyn Democrat who took office in January 2019, said her office had received more than 1,300 submissions from people reporting misconduct by the police during its enforcement of the protests.

She said her office was weighing whether to recommend criminal charges against specific officers who were found to have used excessive force. So far one officer has been charged with assault after a video emerged of him shoving a young woman to the ground during a protest.

Investigators with Ms. James’s office found that more than 2,000 people were arrested during the first week of protests in the city, from May 28 to June 7. Many were arrested after 8 p.m., she said, in the days after Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed a curfew, “suggesting the curfew was a significant driver of arrests.”

Of those arrested, Black and Latino protesters were more likely to be charged with a felony than white protesters, the report said.

Author: ApnayOnline is an oline news portal which aims to provide latest trendy news around the Asia

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