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Petition Statement

Defund the NYPD Petition

June 22, 2020

  1. INTRODUCTION

We are rank and file members launching a new Progressive Caucus under DC 37. We cannot express the extent of our outrage at the systematic and unbridled violence of the NYPD, now on full display for the entire world to see. Not only does the NYPD treat our city as an “occupied territory,” to echo the words of current and former staffers for Mayor De Blasio, but their recent aggression also enabled the temporary suspension of the right to a writ of habeas corpus. We stand with the demonstrators as they continue to protest our racist criminal justice system’s sustained assault on Black people in NYC and around the country. 

While the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery have catalyzed these most recent demonstrations, we know that Black and brown New Yorkers live under the threat of vicious police violence every single day. Years of spending money on new training, body cameras, and attempts at police reform has failed to fix the core problem: our justice system is rooted in racial control and empowers officers to abuse (and kill) with impunity.

Our union is powered by city workers who strive to advance economic and racial justice. We work every day to make our city better. We write this petition because we believe that the circumstances call for a complete reimagining of how NYC ensures the public health and safety of its residents. These efforts are already underway in other cities, like in Minneapolis where the City Council has called to disband the police, or in San Francisco where police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls. 

Put simply, cutting the NYPD’s budget is not enough. We support calls to defund the NYPD and completely reimagine our city’s approach to public safety. As city workers, we know that the way to ensure public wellbeing is through robust investment in housing, healthcare, and a public health approach to violence reduction. Budgets are expressions of our priorities, and it is time we used our power as a union of 150,000 members to push for a budget that actually reflects the needs and desires of our union and the City as a whole. As a first step, in the coming fiscal year, we believe that the NYPD’s budget should be reduced by half. It is now clear to us, and it should be clear to you, that those dollars would be better spent by other departments that ensure the safety and wellbeing of New Yorkers by administering social services.

  1. JOIN US

We hope that the rest of our 150,000 members, and DC 37 leadership will stand in solidarity with us as we make this call, and remember our union’s obligation to its diverse membership, many of whom live in communities that have received underinvestment from the City for decades. 

 The signers of this petition believe DC 37 must call for:

  1. A plan for the defunding of the NYPD, divestment from prison funding, and a reallocation of those public resources toward social needs, a just form of ensuring community public safety and wellness. This would not include clerical workers, crossing guards, or other necessary civil service workers employed by the NYPD or Corrections.
  2. A plan for providing the space for New Yorkers to discuss alternatives to status quo policing in their communities, including investment in transformative and restorative justice practices and well-tested models of violence interruption such as neighborhood patrols and unarmed responses to non-violent calls, to build an NYC without police or incarceration.
  3. Immediate de-militarization of the NYPD. Removal of all riot gear, military equipment, and crowd control substances banned by international agreement such as tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. Institute legal prohibition against any future such purchases.

And, in the short term, for the following actions:

  1. The removal of $3 billion from the NYPD budget in Fiscal Year ‘21, and reallocation of the funding towards other essential services and community-based violence prevention strategies.
  2. Immediate institution of independent, legal, civilian oversight over the NYPD with full investigatory and prosecutorial powers to address all alleged instances of excessive and/or racist police violence.
  3. The removal of police unions from the Central Labor Council.
  4. Appointing an independent commission to investigate the response of the Mayor’s Office and the NYPD to the May and June 2020 protests against police violence.
  1. WHY DO WE MAKE THIS CALL?
  • Because Black Lives Matter. Systemic racism is firmly rooted in the NYPD and is affirmed every day by the Police Benevolent Association (PBA). We condemn the NYPD’s continuation of institutionalized violence against Black lives, and demand an end to it.
  • Because we have a right to protest without being terrorized. Over the past several weeks, millions of New Yorkers have been able to watch – almost in real time – police instigate violence against scores of peaceful protesters in every borough. We condemn NYPD’s brutality, demonstrated when officers rammed people with SUVs, attacked on-duty essential workers, flashed white supremacist hand signals, threw a young protestor to the ground so hard that she had seizures, pointed guns at crowds, covered their badges to shield themselves from any accountability, and used our City’s obscene curfew to silence peaceful protest. Many other instances of police violence have gone undocumented
  • Because we see (and experience) this kind of “misconduct” every day. The NYPD paid out $69 million last year to settle claims of police misconduct. It waited five years to fire Daniel Pantaleo. It used subway fare enforcement and social distancing measures as an excuse to terrorize Black and brown New Yorkers. We shouldn’t be surprised at what we’re seeing, and it’s time to use our union’s strength to help end it.
  1. IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON THE CITY BUDGET

Our call to defund and reallocate takes on a particular urgency in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which, like police violence itself, has a disproportionate and racialized impact on Black and brown New Yorkers. Our city historically spends more on policing than it does on the Departments of Health, Homeless Services, Housing Preservation and Development, and Youth and Community Development combined. And, in the midst of the unprecedented budgetary challenges posed by the pandemic – which amounts to an estimated $9 billion shortfall in tax revenue – the Mayor’s initial funding proposal for the NYPD only reduces its budget by less than 1 percent. Consider, in contrast, that the Department of Youth and Community Service faces a 32 percent cut, or that HPD’s capital budget faces a 40 percent cut. 

Defunding the NYPD and reallocating its resources can play a crucial role in ensuring that indispensable programs can remain funded. This reallocation, along with the tens of millions that would otherwise be spent on settling NYPD misconduct cases, will go a long way in overcoming the immense budgetary challenges posed by COVID-19. The City’s current fiscal commitment to the NYPD suggests that armed police officers are the most important component of a safe, thriving city. The NYPD routinely proves this to be false.

  1. BUDGET PRIORITIES

How might we reallocate the NYPD’s funding? Funding should be redistributed to new and existing programs managed by DC 37 agencies and our partner mayoral offices designed to:

  1. Transition public safety from a police-centered approach to a community-based model, a transition requiring a radical reimagination of City services and the development of new programs and civil service positions
  2. Improve equitable outcomes for New Yorkers, including addressing the social and environmental determinants of health that disadvantage communities of color

We believe City agencies are well positioned to take on this work due to our various expertise in the following work, including but not limited to:

  • Social work and case management
  • Mediation and consensus building
  • Violence interruption and de-escalation
  • Community outreach and engagement
  • Contracting and partnerships with community based organizations
  • Response to and prevention of discrimination and harassment
  • Monitoring and enforcement of rules and regulations promoting the health, safety, and general welfare of New Yorkers
  • Implicit bias training
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Physical and mental health education and substance abuse prevention 
  • Home visiting programs
  • Food and resource distribution
  • Youth education, recreation, and employment programs 
  • Arts and cultural programming
  • Literacy and educational resources
  • Information and referral services
  • Support to small businesses
  • Workforce development
  • Financing the construction and preservation of affordable housing
  • Rental assistance, tenant counseling, and homeownership education
  • Designing and building vibrant, accessible public spaces
  • Designing and building resiliency and flood protection projects to protect communities at the frontlines of climate change
  • Implementation of street improvement programs for neighborhood safety and accessibility

We demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. For Eric and Erica Garner. For all Black New Yorkers. We have an opportunity to serve as a model for the rest of the country by defunding the police in New York City and reimagining our approach to public safety. We should use it. 

In Solidarity,

The undersigned

Abigail Garnett, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Adam Phillips, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Adriana Joseph, Local 374 Quasi-Public Employees
Alejandro Fernandez, Local 2054 NYC College Assistants
Alexa Orr, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Alexander Rawding, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Alexandra Wilder, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Amy Vertal, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Ana Reguera, Local 1070 Court, County & Dept. of Probation Employees
Anastasia Barcari, Local 1251 NYC Board of Education Clerical-Administrative Employees
Andrew Chang, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Andrew Jungkuntz, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Andrew Schustek, Local 2054 NYC College Assistants
Andrewsky Emmanuel, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Angela Ghesquiere, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Angela K, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Angus Page, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Anil Sindhwani, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Anthony Reuter, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Ari Kaputkin, Local 1407 NYC Accountants, Statisticians & Actuaries
Ariana Arancibia, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Arthur Getman, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Avery Dement, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Ben Blackshear, Local 2627 NYC Electronic Data Processing Personnel
Ben Schwed, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Brady Simmons, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Brendan Shera, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Brian Lewis, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Caitlin Toner, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Carey Dunfey, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Carlos Acosta, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Carlos P. V., Local 372 NYC Board of Education Employees
Carly Hoffmann, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Caroline Antonelli, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Carsten Rodin, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Casey Peterson, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Cassie Hackel, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Catherine Ahn, Local 374 Quasi-Public Employees
Charles McCracken, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Chinyere Mbamalu, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Christina Luna, Local 299 AFSCME
Claire Mardian, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Claudia Bartoli, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Claudia Urdanivia, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Colin Stayna-Wynter, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Conor Allerton, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Dan Moran, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Daniel Carter, Local 983 NYC Motor Vehicle Operators
Daniel Forestier, Local 983 NYC Motor Vehicle Operators
Daniel Pforte, Local 215 Social Service Employees
Daniel Staton, Local 983 NYC Motor Vehicle Operators
Dara Y., Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
David Knight, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Deborah Tint, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Demetra Philippou, Local 372 NYC Board of Education Employees
Devon Neary, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Diana Bowers-Smith, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Diandra Grinage, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Diego Sandoval Hernandez, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Djaz Zulida, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Dory Thrasher, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Ed Alcindor, Local 372 NYC Board of Education Employees
Edwin Llopiz, Local 299 AFSCME
Eleni Zimiles, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Elizabeth Olguin, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Emily Edwards, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Erica Jade Mullen, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Gabriela C Martins, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Galina Normatova, Local 1505 NYC Attendants, Park Service Workers, City Park Workers & Debris Removers
Genea Foster, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
George Olken, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Haley Shaffer, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Harrison Neuhaus, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Hunter Zupnick, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Ian Becker, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Isaac Kirk-Davidoff, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Jack Lundquist, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Jackson McNeil, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
James Hull, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Jasmin Batista, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Jasmine Soltani, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Jenna Gogan, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Jenna Herskovic, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Jeremy Friedman, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
John Gergely, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Jon Golbe, Local 253 Education Employees
Josef Szende, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Joshua Barnett, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Joy Resor, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Judy Chang, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Judy Thompson, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Justin Beauchamp, Local 2054 NYC College Assistants
K.C. Alvey, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Kaitlin Holmes, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Karen Aquino, Local 1505 NYC Attendants, Park Service Workers, City Park Workers & Debris Removers
Kat Savage, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Kate Cotty, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Kevin Bogle, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Kirk Span, Local 1505 NYC Attendants, Park Service Workers, City Park Workers & Debris Removers
Klp, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Kobe Lewin, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Krystle Rodriguez, Local 983 NYC Motor Vehicle Operators
Lauren Lampasone, Local 1930 New York Public Library Guild
Lavinia Lotrean, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Lawrence Fiorelli, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Lia Soorenian, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Lida A., Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Liz Baldwin, Local 1930 New York Public Library Guild
Liz Volchok, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Louis Moskowitz, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Louise Tiano, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees Local 371
Louise Yeung, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Mara Gittleman, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Margaret Ross-Martin, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Mariaelena Garcia, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Marta Goraczniak, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Martha Larson, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Maya Landy, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Melinda Garrett, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Melissa Morrone, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Michael Nicholas, Local 1549 NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees
Michael Perles, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Michele Martinez Gugerli, Local 372 NYC Board of Education Employees
Michele Ramos, Local 1505 NYC Attendants, Park Service Workers, City Park Workers & Debris Removers
Michelle Clawson, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Michelle Montalbano, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Michelle Nitto, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Monica Johnson, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Monique I, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Natasha Pasternack, Local 1070 Court, County & Dept. of Probation Employees
Nathan Albert, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Nick Flachsbart, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Nina Psoncak, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Pamela Sakiel, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Rachel Gordon, Local 768 NYC Health Services Employees
Rachel Lipkin, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Rakisha R Kearns-White, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Rehanna Azimi, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Rita Meade, Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild
Rob Bryan, Local 1113 NYC Finance Administrative Employees and City Investigators
Roxanne Earley, Local 1407 NYC Accountants, Statisticians & Actuaries
Ryan P Tomczyk, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Sabrina Bazile, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Sainath Dasma, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Salome Stulberg, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Samuel Coffin, Local 1407 NYC Accountants, Statisticians & Actuaries
Sara Trigoboff, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Sarah Leitson, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Sarah Toth, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Sasha Jones, Local 1930 New York Public Library Guild
Seijin Ahn, Local 374 Quasi-Public Employees
Seth Hostetter, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Shannon Lee Gilstad, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Sheila Heath, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Stephanie Barreto-Lastra, Local 372 NYC Board of Education Employees
Stephanie Chan, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Stephanie Venegas, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Stephen Visovsky, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Thomas Abbot, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild
Tiffany Wiley, Local 983 NYC Motor Vehicle Operators
Vanessa O., Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Vicky G, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Wes Markusfeld, Local 1507 NYC Department of Parks Gardeners
Yelena Tsodikovich, Local 371 New York Social Service Employees
Ysabel Abreu, Local 375 Civil Service Technical Guild

DC 37 Progressive Allies
Akia S Slade
Alex Hastings
Alexander Kleppin
Denise Ferrante
Emily Paddon
Hillary Hersh
Mary Daly
Nastaran Khoshab
Natalie O’Shea
Nick Gulotta
Rachel Natelson
Sophia Steckler
Tamra Carhart
Valerie Williamson
Emily Feigenberg

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