"We cannot help public safety if we do not know the number of people arrested by the Police"
In an exclusive dialogue with LPO, the renowned public attorney Jumaane Williams explains the project to supervise New York Police.

While the shock in the United States continues due to the brutal police beating that caused the death of the young Tyre Nichols in Memphis, in New York the measures to control the actions of the largest Police Department in the country are making progress. A new law that several council members are working on - and has the support of public attorney Jumaane Williams - aims to spread the word about police arrests in the Big Apple to hold the Department accountable.

The organization Communities United for Police Reform joined Williams and members of the City Council such as Alexa Avilés and Crystal Hudson to promote the bill called How many stops act that aims to be a tool for criticism, supervision and transparency of the interactions of the NYPD with the public.

Once again, Mayor Eric Adams has an open front on the issue of crime and security, and his allies are demanding he comes to terms with his dual roles as Democratic mayor an ex-police officer.

Obama pide una reforma policial tras la golpiza fatal contra un joven afro en Memphis

Adams stands firm on broken glass policy, controversial use of force. The mayor has renamed the New York version of the Memphis scorpion unit that killed Nichols and seeks to find a place in the public discussion by 2024 in defense of African-Americans. At the same time, his speech is to increase policing in order to have a presence in the neighborhoods, but the demand for transparency in these interactions between the police and citizens is the point at which Jumaane Williams demands a different approach from the mayor. Williams spoke exclusively with LPO.

How relevant is the law you are preparing?

Data is really important, transparency is really important. Any of the improvements we had in the past were the result of fighting with tooth and nail and we would not have achieved them without data. It is important that we continue to get data transparency. This is why I am very proud to be with councilors Avilés and Hudson to continue with that work and pass the How many stops act.

Every time we break ground on these issues, front lines are created, confrontation with every little breakthrough, we cannot get to the important stuff and we get caught up in little details, like trying to find out how many arrests are being made.

Jumaane Williams, at a protest during the pandemic.

Why don't you see benefits in increasing the number of police officers on the streets?

Increasing policing does not help with the problem of gun violence. A decade ago, together with Brad Lader, city controller, I helped implement the community safety act, which was intended to deal with stop and frisk abuses. We look back on the struggles we had with stop and frisk. We made it, but it wasn't easy. A lot of people were confronting us then, they were not all on our side, but we were right. We were saying that you couldn't arrest black youth in New York City just like that.

A decade ago, I helped implement the community safety act, which was intended to deal with stop and frisk abuses. We were saying that you couldn't arrest black youth in New York City just like that. We made it, but a lot of people confronted us.

In this demand for clean information about the actions of the police, how do you see Adams' position?

We could not have made progress on policing improvements a decade ago without data. The two people who started at the state level to have that information were precisely the member of the assembly Hakeem Jeffries - now a Democratic successor to Nancy Pelosi in Congress - and the state senator Eric Adams.

My hope is that since Adams started trying to collect the data that gets us where we are now he is going to join us in making sure we continue to collect information to challenge the police department. In order to have transparency in policing, it is necessary to know all the arrests that are carried out. These two concepts, no matter how far we have advanced, are aspects that have remained without progress: transparency and responsibility. We cannot claim responsibility and we cannot help the city with public safety if we do not know how many people are arrested. We know that these arrests have impacted people, young people who see law enforcement in a certain way and it becomes a vicious cycle.

My hope is that considering that Adams started to collect data that gets us where we are now he is going to join us.

What steps are missing for there to be a better police force in New York?

Everyone who cares about better policing and public safety should join us, and I urge Council members to join the ¨how many stops act¨. Many things happen and we do not see them, there is much more that we need to know in order to move forward. This law must be passed.

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