NYPD Accountability Plan

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For the first time in the history of Gallup’s polling of the question, a majority of Americans lack confidence in the police.  It does not take a national poll to know that —  months of non-stop protests here in New York, throughout the nation, and across the globe are enough to tell us that people are demanding true accountability in law enforcement and that demand is closely intertwined with calls to reform our criminal justice system. Holding officers accountable, full stop, reimagining the role of police in our society, striking the right balance between public health and public safety, finding ways to keep people out of jail instead of inside, and taking a stand on behalf of victims of police misconduct and disproportionate over-policing—these issues are no longer up for debate.  

As District Attorney, I will create a new unit to partner with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Under a Memo of  Understanding, the CCRB will refer potentially criminal conduct to the DA’s Police Accountability Unit and proactively investigate criminality committed by the police. 

As District Attorney, the defense will be informed of any negative or relevant information about officers involved in cases.

I will advocate before the City Council to create a publicly searchable website — 50a.com — that will contain NYPD and CCRB misconduct records.

 I will move for the public disclosure of grand jury minutes where a grand jury fails to indict a police officer on the top charge or publication of a grand jury report detailing wrongdoing or recommending policy changes, including revisions to state law or police department policy.
 

I will decriminalize or decline to prosecute marijuana possession and use, as well as  enforcement of sex work-related crimes, loitering, and theft of service to eliminate unnecessary over policing because of the concern of disparate policing in certain communities.

More specifically:

Manhattan DA Partnership with CCRB 

Too often, when police violate the law, victims rarely report these crimes to traditional law enforcement the DA’s Office is the last to know and the last to act. This must change. 

As DA, Diana will create a fully-resourced Police Accountability Unit which will be staffed with lawyers, analysts and community liaisons who will proactively look for criminality by partnering the Civilian Complaint Review Board  through a Memorandum of Understanding, (“DANY-CCRB MOU”). Under the DANY-CCRB MOU, the CCRB will refer potentially criminal conduct in the complaints it receives by the Manhattan DA’s Office to ensure that officers are not only held accountable for misconduct, but also for any criminal acts. It will also actively partner with community based organizations and legal service providers to ensure that no matter where victims share their stories of police criminality, the information gets to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

 

Transparency 

The Manhattan DA maintains a proprietary list of  internal databases tracking officers with credibility issues.  These databases variously drew information from civil lawsuits, prior criminal records, substantiated misconduct allegations, and determinations made by judges in the midst of proceedings.

As DA, Diana will identify and disclose the following information to the defense in every criminal case: complete officer misconduct history with dispositions, including any related to dishonesty or fabrication and any judicial findings of a lack of credibility that the Office becomes aware of or that are memorialized in a fashion the office can review and disclose.

  • If it is determined that an officer lacks credibility and cannot be allowed to testify, the Office will not pursue cases resting solely on that officer’s credibility, past cases resting solely on that officer’s credibility will be reviewed, and the police department and other local and federal prosecutors will be notified.
  • If the officer’s dishonesty could fall under the penal law, either for a lie made under oath or for false written entries in paperwork, the office will fully investigate any relevant criminal charges.

Diana will advocate for the City Council to create “50A.com” which will be a publicly available NYPD misconduct database, containing records from both the  CCRB and NYPD

After the Grand Jury in the Breonna Taylor case failed to return any indictments related to her death, public outcry led to the public release of the grand jury minutes. Diana believes that waiting for public outcry further erodes public trust. As DA, in cases where a grand jury fails to indict a police officer on the top charge, Diana will move for a) immediate public release of the grand jury minutes and, where permissible, b) publication of a grand jury report detailing wrongdoing or recommending policy changes, including revisions to state law or police department policy.

 

Manhattan DA that Reflects the values of our Society

Diana will decline to prosecute low-level offenses bearing the hallmarks of disparate policing, such as enforcement of social distancing guidelines, sex work-related crimes, loitering, and theft of services.  Diana will continue to monitor the issue of disparate impact policing and respond accordingly to arrests that are clearly the result of over-policing in disparately targeted communities and groups.

Upon taking office, Diana will fully decriminalize marijuana possession and use by refusing to enforce the remaining marijuana crimes and violations in effect, absent exceptional circumstances clearly and directly implicating public safety. Diana will support full legalization of marijuana with a strong racial and racial economic justice framework advocating profits, investment, and business opportunities are going toward communities unfairly targeted by these crimes. In addition, Diana will focus resources to ensure that the records of those who were incarcerated for marijuana-related charges are expunged.  

Diana will decline to prosecute low-level offenses against homeless people, where there was no actual threat to public safety or where the arrest is the product of escalation or targeting for disparate enforcement by NYPD officers.  In addition, Diana will support and do everything in her power to keep the NYPD out of homeless outreach and fund community organizations that focus on providing holistic services to this population. 

Diana will support and advocate for the implementation of a mental health crisis response program that deploys first response teams that exclude law enforcement and that are deployable by a dedicated emergency number (ideally a new 911 type hotline dedicated to mental health crisis calls for service).  In addition, Diana will support and fund the establishment of diversion centers where people in mental health crises can be transported instead of detention or hospital emergency rooms.

 

Protecting Free Speech and Political Activity from NYPD Overreach

Diana will petition federal courts to increase independent oversight on the committee charged with overseeing NYPD investigations of political activity and free speech.

Diana Florence for New York. 805 Third Avenue, 10th Floor. New York, New York 10022

© 2020 Diana Florence for Manhattan DA. All rights reserved.
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