Monifa Bandele, MomsRising
by Benjamin Fang
Oct 24, 2018 | 4958 views | 0 0 comments | 476 476 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For seven years, the coalition group Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) has fought to change unlawful and harmful police practices.

The organization successfully filed a lawsuit to end unconstitutional stop-and-frisk that was rampant in the city. That same year, the coalition successfully pushed the City Council to pass the Community Safety Act, legislation that banned profiling and added oversight of the NYPD.

Last year, they helped pass the Right to Know Act, a new law that requires police to inform civilians of their right to deny searches and to identify themselves and the reason for their interaction.

Monifa Bandele, senior vice president of the advocacy group MomsRising and a member of CPR, said the new Consent to Search law is a “gamechanger on the ground.”

“Right now, you have a right to decline a search, but the onus is on you to know that,” she said. “This law puts the onus on the police to articulate your rights to you clearly, and then ask you if they can search you.”

Still, police reform advocates like Bandele say more work needs to be done to hold police officers accountable for their actions.

Bandele said the next steps are at the state level. CPR seeks to repeal 50-A, a New York state law that keeps police disciplinary records hidden.

The coalition also wants to change a state law to lessen “unnecessary arrests.” Rather than giving officers discretion to ticket or arrest a civilian over a ticketable offense, advocates want officers to just give a ticket.

“What we know anecdotally is that people of color are more likely to arrested for ticketable offense,” Bandele said. “If it is not necessary to arrest someone, don’t arrest them.”
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