I write to support efforts to override the mayor’s veto of two pieces of legislation important to our community and city – the bills known as the Community Safety Act. I joined a rally of concerned councilmembers, justice advocates and community members on July 18 to make clear my support and help push back against the tremendous pressure being put on courageous councilmembers who put their constituents, justice and public safety first.
When race or ethnicity remains the determining factor to question or arrest an individual, our society sends the wrong message. In knocking on several thousand doors in, and campaigning throughout, Council District 27 covering all or part of Addisleigh Park, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Queens Village and St. Albans, young people of color made clear the devastating impact that profiling inflicts on them. The practice should be illegal.
No New Yorker should be singled out because of his or her ethnicity; these bad contacts only widen the divide of distrust between police and the communities they serve. The New York Attorney General’s 2001 report confirmed that the NYPD applied “stop and frisk” tactics more aggressively and broadly to African-Americans and Latinos than to whites. The report found that minorities were more likely to be approached where the stop did not result in an arrest.
The 2004 NYC Local Law needs to be followed and the police commissioner held accountable to its reporting requirements and its ban on profiling.
As a community and labor activist, president of Amalgamated Transportation Union (ATU) Local No. 1056, which represents drivers and mechanics who work for MTA New York City Transit’s Queens Bus Division, co-chair of the MTA Labor Coalition of 29 unions and more than 60,000 workers, and long-time southeast Queens resident who has worked with our community’s young people including as a co-founder of Brothers Unlimited which assists families in need and as a mentor with United Black Men of Queens and Life Camp, I know our community needs this reform.
That’s why I support the Community Safety Act and advocate the override of the mayor’s veto.
I. Daneek Miller
Candidate for City Council – District 27, Southeast Queens