Civil and Labor Rights Leaders Respond to Speaker Quinn’s Remarks on Discriminatory Profiling

Leaders from the NAACP, National Action Network, 1199SEIU and NYCLU respond the Speaker Christine Quinn’s rejection of legislation banning racial, religious and gender identity profiling

(New York, NY) – National Action Network, 1199SEIU, NYCLU and the NAACP have released the following statement in response to Christine Quinn’s failure to support the ban on racial profiling as part of the Community Safety Act.

From Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO of the NAACP:

“No other city in the United States has implemented racial profiling policies on as wide a scale, or taken it to such destructive levels as Commissioner Kelly’s NYPD,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Speaker Quinn must understand that these excesses must be reigned in if she wants the support of New York’s communities of color.”

From Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network:

"I am disappointed that Speaker Quinn has chosen not to include racial profiling as part of proposed legislation at a time when we are dealing with profiling on the rise after the Boston marathon bombing,” stated Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network.  “New York and New Jersey are the places where the term profiling was born and it sends a terrible signal nationally and a worse one locally to not have it part of the legislation. No candidate should be taken seriously if they don't take racial profiling seriously."

From Hazel Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference:

"We stand here, yet again, asking our leaders to stand up for justice and what's right for all New Yorkers," stated Hazel M. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference. "And yet again, we are met with adversity. We cannot allow politics to stand in the way of justice. New York City's elected officials cannot continue to support policies that promote racial profiling.” 

From Kevin Finnegan, Political Director, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East:

 “Discriminatory profiling by the police doesn’t work, wastes resources, violates civil rights and distracts from solving and preventing crime,” stated Kevin Finnegan, Political Director, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union in New York and the nation.  “We need both an Inspector General to safeguard against unfair police practices, and also the ability for individual plaintiffs to bring suits against policies that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status or other protected categories. Both these measures together will ensure that the safety and rights of all New Yorkers are protected.”

From Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU:

“While is is disappointing that the speaker will not support a strong ban against profiling by the NYPD, we will continue to press for a council vote on both the  anti-profiling bill and the Inspector General bill, which both enjoy the overwhelming majority support in the City Council," stated Donna Lieberman , Executive Director of the NYCLU.  "The NYPD needs wholesale reform over the way it does business with respect to basic civil rights. While racial profiling is currently banned, it is a law with no teeth. The anti-profiling bill that is part of the Community Safety Act makes it illegal for police to use race as a reason to stop someone – unless there really is a suspect description. Since fitting a description was the reason for a stop-and-frisk just 16 percent of the time in 2011, this will force the Department to explain why 90 percent of people stopped are black and Latino.  This bill will allow New Yorkers who are victims of NYPD profiling to hold the NYPD accountable."

The Community Safety Act is a bundle of legislation pending before the New York City Council that would ban racial and religious profiling, establish an NYPD Inspector General Office, and provide greater protection against unlawful search and seizure.

Last year Father’s Day, Tens of thousands of civil and human right advocates and outraged community members marched in silent solidarity down Fifth Avenue in New York City to bring attention to the racial profiling and to protest the city’s abusive and discriminatory stop-and-frisk policing practice.

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