New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron has shared with Guerrilla Journalism a proposal he believes will help stem the endless killings of Black and Latino males by officers of the NYPD.
The list of victims over the years is long and includes the following: Anthony Baez (1994); Amadou Diallo (1999); Patrick Dorismond (2000); Ousmane Zongo (2003); Timothy Stansbury Jr. (2004); Sean Bell (2006); Ramarley Graham (2012); Eric Garner (2014); and, Akai Gurley (2014).
Barron doesn’t believe Executive Order No. 147, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2015, giving the state Attorney General the power of special prosecutor in police related killings of civilians is a solution at all.
“We need to have an independent entity to prosecute police when they commit use of deadly force, brutality or discourtesy,” Barron says. “Not a special prosecutor out of the AG’s office that’s empowered by the governor. Because that’s still all a part of the system.”
He describes the body he envisions as an “independent civilian agency with prosecutorial powers to investigate and prosecute police when they kill unarmed Black civilians and unarmed civilians in any community.”
Barron explained that this agency would be made up of civilians and civic organizations that focus on law. He says it would be similar to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board and be funded through tax dollars.
Other measures must be put in place that Barron believes will be deterrents to the police criminality.
“I believe what the Black community needs is to have complete and total control over policing and the police department in our community. An entity in our community that has the power to determine: who the police commander is going to be at the precinct, which police come into our community and which [police officers] need to go, police policy and enforcement. We want no more ‘stop and frisk.’ We want no more ‘broken windows theory,'” Barron explains.
In addition to these measures, Barron says, “I think that the community needs to have community patrols. We must have the ability to patrol the police and patrol our communities for community crime. The presence of a community patrol funded by the state and/or city would create more employment for people who could use it. The presence of a community patrol brings down community crime and police crime.”
Finally, Barron adds: “We need to have a residency law. The police should live in the community that they police. I think if they lived in our community. They would have a better understanding of our community, they would be more sensitive to our community because it would be there home as well.”