Brooklyn Boro

What’s News, Breaking: Friday, March 3, 2023

March 3, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Share this:

NYC WATER WILL COME FROM CROTON WATERSHED FOR NEXT 2 WEEKS AS PART OF AQUEDUCT REPAIR PREP

CITYWIDE — New York City, reputed for having some of the best tap water in the United States, will experience a significant increase in the amount of water coming from the Croton Watershed, a group of 12 reservoirs in Westchester and Putnam Counties, for two weeks starting this Monday, March 6, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection announced on Friday. The increased reliance on Croton water is part of DEP’s largest-ever capital repair project, to connect a bypass tunnel around known leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct, the world’s longest tunnel, and engineers will temporarily shut down the aqueduct for two weeks in March as a scheduled test, for planned work on the Delaware Aqueduct this fall.

Due to the increase in Croton water, New York City residents may notice a slight taste difference in their tap water due to different characteristics between upstate reservoir systems.

✰✰✰

ORTHODOX UNION SPONSORS LOBBY DAY IN ALBANY TO FUND VITAL EDUCATION GOALS

STATEWIDE — More than 1,000 students, teachers and administrators from 88 Jewish nonpublic schools and yeshivas, lay leaders and community members, will head to the state’s capital to advocate for nonpublic schools on Tuesday, March 14, for the Teach NYS’ Sixth Annual Mission To Albany 2023. Teach NYS, an education advocacy group and division of the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition, will host the state’s largest student-run advocacy day — and the first since the start of the pandemic three years ago — with a focus on funding its top goals: hiring certified STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers for these schools, creating and hiring teachers for arts and music programs, and providing free lunch programs during a time of skyrocketing food prices.

Brooklyn has many yeshivas, from Williamsburg to Brighton Beach, but there has been pushback from certain ultra-Orthodox communities who emphasize the need for only religious classes.

✰✰✰

URGING PASSAGE OF PUBLIC BANK ACT TO RECOVER FROM PANDEMIC’S FINANCIAL CRISIS

CITYWIDE — “A Public Bank in New York City would ensure our tax dollars are putting money to work for the public good,” said Councilmember Lincoln Restler (D-33/Downtown Brooklyn to Greenpoint), who joined City Comptroller Brad Lander at a March 3 press conference urging state legislature to move forward with a vote on the “New York Public Banking Act” (S1754/A3352). “We can invest in our communities to create deeply affordable housing, renewable energy projects, good jobs, and so much more,” Restler added.

Likewise, Councilmember Shahana Hanif (D-39th District/Carroll Gardens to Borough Park), said (excerpted), “We need public banking to fully recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and ensure our communities are made whole again.”

✰✰✰

LANDER, CITY COUNCIL PUSH FOR VOTE ON NY PUBLIC BANKING ACT

CITYWIDE — NYC City Comptroller Brand Lander and members of the City Council, on Friday, March 3, joined other elected officials and the Public Bank NYC coalition for a press conference calling on the state to enact legislation opening the way for public banking in New York City. The move reflects rapidly growing statewide enthusiasm for creating local public banks, which are financial institutions that local governments create, charter, and operate to serve the public interest. The press conference coincided with the release of a letter from more than 100 local elected officials to the governor and leaders of both NY State Senate and Assembly, urging enactment of the “New York Public Banking Act” (S1754/A3352) – legislation to create a safe and appropriate regulatory framework for local public banking.

The New York Public Banking Act has broad support in both the NYS Senate and Assembly, but its advocates charge that the banking lobby has, thus far, blocked the bill from reaching a vote.

✰✰✰

NY’S ATTORNEY GENERAL LEADS CHARGE IN DEMANDING INFO REQUEST ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS BE DROPPED

ALBANY — Public university students in Florida who are undergoing gender-affirming care gained an ally in a coalition of 16 attorneys general, including its leader, New York’s Letitia James. The coalition sent a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decrying his request for information about these students and urging him to rescind it immediately. The coalition cited federal protections against discrimination in accessing health care, pointing out that Gov. DeSantis’ actions not only jeopardize the health and safety of young people and their families, and ignore widely accepted medical standards, but they also unjustly insert the state into the private relationship between care provider and patient.

The attorneys general stated that targeting the health care on which transgender students rely violates students’ rights to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and their right to freedom from discrimination in federally funded education institutions under Title IX.

✰✰✰

MAYOR HOSTS INAUGURAL ‘BREAKING BREAD, BUILDING BONDS’ DINNER

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday, March 2, hosted an inaugural catalyst dinner for his ‘Breaking Bread, Building Bonds’ (B4) initiative, with the meal held at the Barclays Center. Administration officials and members of The People’s Supper joined him for the catalyst dinner, at which more than 150 hosts — comprised of everyday New Yorkers from all walks of life —were trained on how to host their own dinners, which aim to convene diverse groups of New Yorkers and have them engage in conversations that promote mutual understanding and combat the rising tide of hate.

Launched in January and organized in partnership with The People’s Supper, UJA-Federation of New York, and several community-based organizations, the B4 initiative aims to organize a thousand meals, each with 10-12 diverse New Yorkers, and offering support, coaching, participant matches, a toolkit and resource guide to the hosts.

Mayor Adams speaks at his inaugural B4 Initiative Catalyst Dinner, held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Photo: Office of Mayor Eric L. Adams.

✰✰✰

FDNY CHIEFS ASK FOR EMERGENCY HEARING TO HALT DEMOTIONS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – The group of FDNY chiefs suing Commissioner Laura Kavanagh suffered a setback on Thursday night after a judge in Brooklyn federal court denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked Kavanagh from demoting several senior staffers. The staffers have requested an emergency hearing, asking the court to reconsider, in light of serious safety concerns. Lawyers for the chiefs said that without the TRO, by Saturday the FDNY will be left with no chiefs with 5-alarm-fire experience and only one or two with 4-alarm-fire experience. In a memorandum they accused Acting First Deputy Commissioner Lizette Christoff of making false or misleading statements on the state of the FDNY’s senior ranks, asserting that the FDNY in fact has no clear options for replacing the fired and demoted staff members in the immediate future.

The lawsuit is the result of serious tensions arising from Kavanagh’s efforts to shake up the department following her appointment by Mayor Adams in October of 2022; while the mayor has supported her, critics have charged that a lack of experience in firefighting — Kavanagh joined the FDNY in an administrative role in 2014 after working as an advisor to former Mayor de Blasio — has led her to discount the institutional knowledge of senior staff.

✰✰✰

HOCHUL ANNOUNCES $7M IN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

STATEWIDE — Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced that the Office of Strategic Workforce Development has awarded more than $7 million in grants to fourteen projects across the state through the second round of the Workforce Development Capital and Pay for Performance Grant Programs, which will support the training of more than 3,700 workers in fields like advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and construction. Brooklyn Workforce Innovation received $201,000 for their “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program, which connects diverse unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers to careers in film and television production by providing professional skills and job readiness training, as well as offering a pathway into the industry through their 24-hour placement hotline.

“Our new Office of Strategic Workforce Development will support the needs of New York’s businesses while providing resources to training programs that are removing long-standing barriers to the training and skills necessary to thrive in the workforce of the future,” said Hochul in a press statement.

✰✰✰

BILL PROPOSED TO DECRIMINALIZE SEX WORK IN NY

ALBANY — A Queens lawmaker has put forth a bill in the Assembly that would see sex work decriminalized statewide, reports Spectrum News, a move hailed by some sex workers but met with caution by others who warn of potential risks. Decriminalization would involve simply no longer prosecuting people for engaging in sex work, like prostitution, and is favored by the workers and many progressives, who say that it would help protect vulnerable people by not subjecting them to criminal penalties for “victimless crimes” and would allow trafficking victims to seek help without fearing police action; but other advocates fear that without a regulatory framework, decriminalization might increase the risk for workers following an increased demand, comparing it to the increase in stores selling cannabis over the last year.

Decriminalization differs from legalization in that legalization would involve creating regulations that govern how sex workers are allowed to operate, which proponents say helps protect workers, but opponents say can lead to the creation of secondary black markets.

✰✰✰

BIDEN TO TARGET COVID RELIEF SCAMMERS

NATIONWIDE — On Thursday, President Biden introduced a $1.6 billion pandemic anti-fraud proposal to go after fraudsters and scammers who preyed on Americans during the emergency, prevent fraud and identity theft going forward and help victims; following “a historic degree of outright fraud and identity theft during the pandemic, which was the result of decades of underinvestment in basic government technology, the crush of demand during the pandemic, and ill-considered decisions by the Trump Administration to take down basic fraud controls,” according to the White House. The plan aims to punish those who engaged in major fraud, and despite the expense, its measures are touted to save taxpayers money, often with a more than 10-to-1 return on investment, reports USA Today.

“We want to not only capture them and get their funds, we want to send a signal to them that you can run, but you cannot hide,” said Gene Sperling, a Biden senior adviser who is overseeing the implementation of the COVID-relief plan.

✰✰✰

CITY SETTLES WITH EMTS OVER COVID MEDIA SPEECH

CITYWIDE — The city has agreed to settle with four FDNY EMS workers who faced poor treatment after speaking to the press during the height of NYC’s COVID emergency, reports the New York Daily News, with each worker receiving slightly under $30,000 and charges being struck from their records by the fire department. The EMTs’ union praised the decision, saying that the workers had been unjustly intimidated and stripped of their roles in April 2020 after speaking to the media about the catastrophic conditions in the city’s healthcare system and that this affirmed the right of EMS workers to freedom of speech.

“The parties have reached a fair resolution of this matter,” a spokesperson for the city’s Law Department told the Daily News.

✰✰✰

CONSTRUCTION MANAGER CONVICTED IN WORKER’S DEATH

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Brooklyn D.A. Eric Gonzalez on Thursday announced that Jiaxi “Jimmy” Liu, 49, the operator of a Sunset Park construction company, has been convicted at trial of criminally negligent homicide, tax fraud and other charges, and Wilson Garcia Jr., 48, a foreperson, was convicted of criminal mischief in connection with an excavation wall collapse that killed a construction worker, Luis Almonte Sanchez, who was buried under thousands of pounds of debris in 2018. Gonzalez said that, according to the evidence, Liu for months ordered employees to perform extensive construction work at a site in Sunset Park, despite warnings of dangerous conditions from workers and adjacent property owners, before on Sept. 12, 2019,  a portion of an excavation support and an existing masonry wall collapsed, trapping employee Luis Almonte Sanchez, 47, who was struck by and buried under the collapsing debris.

“Today’s verdict should send a strong message that when contractors cut corners and put their workers’ safety at risk — they will face serious and criminal repercussions. The death of Luis Almonte Sanchez was a preventable tragedy that would have been avoided if the operator of the construction site followed all safety protocols or heeded warnings about unsafe conditions,” Gonzalez said in a press statement.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN OFFICE MARKET CONTINUES SLUMP

BROOKLYN — While Brooklyn’s residential market is hotter than ever, its office buildings are continuing a run of hard luck, according to the Real Deal, which reports that leasing activity dropped by two-thirds from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the same quarter in 2022. Additionally, the borough’s “net absorption” of office space — a measure that compares how much space was newly occupied to how much space was vacated — dropped from a gain of nearly 280,000 square feet in Q4 2021 to just 950 square feet in Q4 2022, following a catastrophic loss of 473,350 square feet in Q3 2022.

Losses for commercial real estate owners have been partially behind Mayor Adams’ controversial opposition to “work from home” policies for white collar workers, something he has enforced at city agencies despite criticism.

✰✰✰

CUSTOMS & BORDER CONTROL URGED TO LIMIT IMPORTS OF UNBRANDED LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

CITYWIDE — Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-7th District), in a related move to the City Council’s new bill on technology safety, wrote to U.S. Customs and Border Protection calling on the agency to do more to curb imports of dangerous unbranded lithium-ion batteries used in electric micro-mobility devices like e-scooters and bikes, that more than 65,000 delivery workers use to earn a living. Unfortunately, the poor quality of these devices’ batteries poses a serious safety risk to deliveristas and residents due to their tendency to ignite fires; in 2022 alone, lithium-ion batteries caused 200 fires and six deaths in New York City.

Rep. Velázquez, in her letter, urged the CBP to make efforts to seize substandard lithium-ion batteries and compel micro-mobility manufacturers and sellers to require that resellers comply with minimum safety standards.

✰✰✰

CATHOLIC SCHOOL TEAMS PARTICIPATE IN ROBOTICS LEAGUE TOURNAMENT

PARK SLOPE & WINDSOR TERRACE — Four teams from two Catholic Schools in Brooklyn will be participating in the city-wide semifinals and finals of the NYC First Lego Robotics league tournament on Sundays, March 5 and 12. St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy in Windsor Terrace is sending its seventh-grade team to the semifinals on March 5, and the school’s eighth-grade team has already qualified for the finals on March 12. St. Saviour Catholic Academy in Park Slope has two teams competing in the semifinals.

NYC FIRST is a proud program delivery organization of FIRST robotics programs which, since 2000, has increased access to joyful STEM education in New York City through citywide robotics competitions. Likewise, FIRST® LEGO® League engages youth ages 4-14 in hands-on STEM exploration, and is often the first spark igniting a love for robotics and a passion for STEM.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN STEM TEACHERS WIN GRANTS FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

FORT GREENE AND BENSONHURST — Teachers at two Brooklyn public high schools — Michael Estrella, a science teacher and alumnus of Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene; and Xue Qing Liang a science teacher at New Utrecht High School — have been awarded STEM Research Grants from the Society for Science. This Washington, DC-based nonprofit recognizes middle and high school teachers engaging their students in authentic scientific research and has, over the past five years, awarded a total of $575,000 — including in specialized equipment — to 283 teachers, with priority consideration given to schools that support students from low-income communities and demographics underrepresented in STEM fields.

Estrella, who holds a doctorate, teaches 12th grade genetics and a research class. Ms. Liang holds advanced degrees in science education, adolescent Chinese and considers chemistry to be its own “fascinating language.”

Michael Estrella, a genetic and research teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School. Photo: Society for Science.
Xue Qing Liang, a chemistry teacher at New Utrecht High School. Photo: Society for Science.

✰✰✰

FORMER EMPLOYEES OF DESIGN-BUILD FIRM WILL RECEIVE $24K IN RESTITUTION

GOWANUS — New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday, March 2 recovered $24,000 for employees of Build With Prospect, Inc., a Gowanus-based design-build company that stole wages from employees. Build With Prospect claimed to operate as a “worker cooperative,” but forced workers to become shareholders of the company by making their employment conditional on owning shares; they required its workers to sign a shareholder agreement and pay $12,000 total for their alleged shares in the company, collecting this fee by unlawfully withholding wages from workers’ paychecks. After Build With Prospect stopped operating, it then failed to pay back the workers who had contributed wages towards their shares.

The March 2 settlement, which resolves a lawsuit filed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) against Build With Prospect and its owners in July 2021, will return $24,000 in restitution to impacted workers.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY UNVEILS NEW SCULPTURE CELEBRATING 125 OF SERVICE TO BUREAU

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A new sculpture unveiled on Thursday, March 2 at the Brooklyn Public Library was commissioned to mark more than 125 years of the literary institution’s service to the borough. Jean Shin’s “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” — an illuminated and inverted hanging tree with roots at the ceiling — is visible from all sides and every level of the new Brooklyn Heights Library. On nights, the sculpture resembles an intricate glowing lantern while, during daylight, the contours of the leaves form the map of Brooklyn with each leaf representing a neighborhood where BPL has a branch.

Each of the leaves is inscribed and illuminated with the title of the most circulated book in the year that the respective branch opened — some of which titles have subsequently been banned in some parts of the U.S. In 1952, the year that the Sheepshead Bay branch opened, it was Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; in 1969, Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was the mainstay of Brooklyn readers.

✰✰✰

ESCAPED DOG STABBED, SAVED BY PET HOSPITAL

GOWANUS — The Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group, an emergency services and specialty pet medicine center in Brooklyn, is celebrating after it saved the life of a Morkie, or Maltese-Yorkie mix, that escaped from its home and was stabbed in the streets. The Morkie, named Benji, was in critical condition when it was brought to VERG for care, but was able to be saved due to surgical intervention and is now recovering safely; however, the exact circumstances of the stabbing remain unclear, and so far, no suspect has been identified.

“Benji came to us in rough shape with a large stab wound. Fortunately, we were able… to stop the traumatic bleeding and ultimately save Benji’s life,” said Dr. Matthew Morgan, Chief of Surgery at VERG, who also warned pet owners to microchip their animal companions and to consider using GPS collars for pets at risk of escaping.

✰✰✰

MTA MAKES CHANGES TO NEW ATLANTIC LIRR SERVICE AFTER COMPLAINTS

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — MTA officials are making changes to the much-heralded new LIRR service for Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal after only three days in operation, following complaints from regular riders and occasional travelers alike. “We are paying close attention to ridership data, including service options to and from Brooklyn during peak periods. We have already started to lengthen our busiest trains and will continue to monitor ridership patterns under the new schedule to see what future adjustments may be necessary,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi in a press statement.

The MTA also stated that on Wednesday, the LIRR carried 60,652 morning-peak passengers, of whom 71% traveled to Penn Station and 29% traveled to Grand Central Madison — but neglected to provide any ridership information for Atlantic Terminal, which now sends trains almost exclusively to Jamaica in Queens.

✰✰✰

POLICE: GANG OF THIEVES TARGETING RIDESHARE DRIVERS

CITYWIDE — The police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying several unknown individuals in association with a string of at least 24 different robberies within rideshare car services which occurred throughout the city between July 4, 2022 and Jan. 7, 2023. In each incident, the unidentified individuals asked the driver to change their destination, then used the opportunity to snatch the drivers’ phones and flee; and while in possession of the victims’ phones, using them to transfer money from the victims’ accounts to their own.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN ORGS TO GET CITY COUNCIL FUNDING FOR IMMIGRANT SUPPORT

CITYWIDE — On Wednesday, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams was joined by her colleagues and several philanthropic foundations to announce a new $2.2 million public-private partnership initiative, called “Welcome NYC,” that will fund organizations providing a variety of essential services to asylum-seekers and to communities across the city. Several major philanthropic foundations are collectively contributing $1 million towards the initiative, including the Brooklyn Community Foundation; while the Council is allocating $1.2 million in total to more than two dozen non-profit organizations, including in Brooklyn the Academy of Medical and Health Services, the Mixteca Organization, the Arab American Association of New York, Muslim Giving Back and Churches United for Fair Housing.

“Since last spring, New York City has welcomed more than 47,000 people seeking asylum in the United States. More than 29,000 people remain in the City’s care, primarily in 88 emergency shelters and seven Humanitarian Emergency Relief and Response Centers,” said the Council in a statement announcing the initiative.

✰✰✰

GROUP CHALLENGES STATE BAN ON GUNS IN CHURCHES

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the Second Amendment Foundation filed a reply brief with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Hardaway Jr. v. Nigrelli, its federal challenge of New York’s current gun control statutes, arguing that there is no historical evidence supporting a ban on firearms in places of worship at the time of the nation’s founding and that, as a result, a preliminary injunction against the law granted by the District Court should stand. The lawsuit is one of many challenging various aspects of New York’s relatively strict gun control policy following a Supreme Court decision last year that overturned its previous regulations.

“The state is trying to get around the high court’s Bruen ruling, and the Constitution at the same time, and we cannot allow this to stand,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb wrote in a press statement explaining the foundation’s perspective.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN CONGRESSMEMBER’S NEW BILLS WOULD TAX MAJOR OIL COMPANY PROFITS

NATIONWIDE — U.S. Rep Dan Goldman (D-10/Brooklyn) co-sponsoring legislation that would tax what he says is the large oil companies’ profiteering in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and instead reinvest in underserved and climate justice communities most susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change.  Under the bill, major oil companies would owe a per-barrel tax equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019. This tax, to be paid quarterly, will apply to both domestically produced and imported barrels of oil, and to profits from 2022 forward.

Revenue raised from the windfall profits of big oil companies will be returned to consumers in the form of a rebate, which would phase out for single filers earning more than $75,000 in annual income and joint filers earning more than $150,000.

✰✰✰

LEGISLATION WOULD INVEST IN CLEAN ENERGY GRIDS TO PROVIDE POWER AFTER CLIMATE DISASTERS

NATIONWIDE — The Energy Resilient Communities Act that Congressmember Dan Goldman (D-10/Brooklyn) is co-sponsoring will create a new program at the U.S. Department of Energy to invest in clean energy microgrids to power the critical infrastructure on which communities rely in the aftermath of an extreme weather event or power disruption. This legislation will help to reverse environmental inequities by prioritizing grants for environmental justice communities, and authorizes $1.5 billion in annual grants for clean energy microgrids to support the critical infrastructure (ranging from hospitals to grocery stories, public safety facilities, among others) that are needed in the aftermath of an extreme weather event, and $50 million in annual grants for technical assistance.

Cities and towns across the country are at increased risk from more frequent and severe natural disasters, such as wildfires, tornadoes, and floods — some within the past week, that cause loss of power in the days and weeks following a disaster.

✰✰✰

ELI LILLY CAPS INSULIN COSTS AT $35

NATIONWIDE — On Wednesday, major drug manufacturer Eli Lilly announced it will cut prices on its most-prescribed insulin product by 70% and will cap out-of-pocket costs for the medication at $35 per month, beginning this spring. This move follows President Biden’s call in his State of the Union address to cap all insulin prices at $35 a month, and his Inflation Reduction Act, which lowered insulin costs for seniors on Medicare.

Diabetes is an epidemic in NYC, and affects roughly 10% of Brooklyn residents, according to The Brooklyn Hospital Center, with rates projected to continue to rise for years to come.

✰✰✰

CLOSING ARGUMENTS IN FOX EXECUTIVES’ SOCCER BRIBE TRIAL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Lawyers were set to make closing arguments in the blockbuster trial of two former Fox sports executives for allegedly participating in a complex scheme to obtain the broadcasting rights for soccer matches from a South American FIFA affiliate, among other crimes. While the trial has focused on the fight over the broadcast rights to the Copa Libertadores, star witnesses in January and February also leveled accusations that the executives had also used slimy tactics to score the rights to the World Cup, soccer’s biggest tournament.

The arguments are set to take place at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, in Brooklyn federal court.

✰✰✰

POLITICIANS, ACTIVISTS OUTRAGED AT POLICE CONDUCT

CIVIC CENTER — Politicians, activists and community members condemned the conduct of the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group unit on Wednesday, with a protest led by the NYCLU taking place outside City Hall while the public offered testimony at an oversight hearing inside. The NYCLU called attention to the city’s broken promise to not deploy the SRG, originally conceived as a counterterrorism unit, at protests; meanwhile, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams stated at the hearing: “It is unsurprising that the SRG frequently uses excessive force, as they are a specialized unit trained to respond to terrorism and violent crime; over time, the NYPD has conflated terrorism and protest, leading to the deployment of officers and militarized gear to largely nonviolent demonstrations.”

This lack of commitment to public transparency and accountability cannot continue, and it’s a shame that the department’s leadership not only undermined its relationship with the Council but all New Yorkers by choosing to not show up,” said Council spokesperson Rendy Desamours in a statement; while Brooklyn councilmembers Chi Ossé, Shahana Hanif and Jennifer Gutierrez called for the wholesale disbanding of the unit at the NYCLU protest.

✰✰✰

NYPD SPURNS COUNCIL AT OVERSIGHT HEARING, SENDS STATEMENT INSTEAD

CIVIC CENTER — The NYPD failed to make an appearance at a City Council hearing on Wednesday regarding its controversial Strategic Response Group unit, instead sending a prepared statement, according to Councilmember Kamillah Hanks, who led the hearing. Despite the NYPD’s absence, community members and activists spoke on their experiences with the unit, which has faced criticism for its rough tactics and ballooning budget, for more than four hours.

Also on Wednesday, the city came to an agreement with protestors mistreated during the racial justice protests of 2020, agreeing to pay millions to settle claims.


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment