May 4, 2020

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement on the multiple arrests made and dozens of summonses issued by the NYPD over the weekend for violations of social distancing mandates. 

He will further address the issue, and the need for the administration to release demographic data on enforcement, in a virtual media availability at 1:00 PM today. 

"It has been two weeks since my office
requested that the administration release demographic data on social distancing enforcement, and over a month since we cautioned against a response reliant on law enforcement rather than a more holistic community enforcement strategy. Now, we see both why they have been resistant to our calls and why it is even more critical and urgent they address this selective enforcement against people and communities of more color. 

"The incidents we saw this past weekend in our parks and on our streets and social media feeds have made it abundantly clear that the same historical disparities in police enforcement are reflected in and magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic response. This inequity is made clear when some violating social distancing receive a mask while others receive a summons, when some are warned and others violently arrested. 

"Social distancing and mask mandates are about public health and public safety - but public safety does not equate with over-policing."


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