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October 27, 2016

Pressure builds for police accountability in NYC

Elias Holtz

Together with other fighters for justice, the Freedom Socialist Party in New York City continues to grow the campaign for police accountability with an elected civilian review board.

A September general meeting in Harlem brought more people than ever before, who had heard about the campaign in places as various as Facebook and a church in south Brooklyn. Attendees were mostly young people of color, eager to make the language explaining the campaign clear to their peers. Plans were laid to make the campaign more inclusive, by making it bilingual, connecting with disenfranchised people who are in prison or undocumented, and establishing childcare at meetings.

The campaign continues to aim to build pressure on the streets that will sway hand-wringing City Council members to support legislation for an elected review board with real power — while our legislative working group hammers away at drafting such a law. New York’s reputation as a liberal haven quickly dissipates when one realizes how top-down the state’s legal structure is.

Campaign members’ attendance at a forum on Black Lives Matter organized by union activists at Harlem Hospital led to a chance to begin to make an alliance with nurses, doctors, and a local of the Communications Workers of America. Confidence and preparation paid off when Shamecca Harris and Jed Holtz volunteered to speak, were called up to the front to make a presentation, and gave a quick, impassioned plea to support the review board mobilization. When the campaign gets union gas in its tank, look out killer cops.