To the Committee on Public Safety of the New York City Council Hearing on Tuesday, June 9, 2020
To Donovan J. Richards, Chair, and Committee members Adrienne E. Adams, Justin L. Brannan, Fernando Cabrera, Andrew Cohen, Chaim M. Deutsch, Vanessa L. Gibson, Rory I. Lancman, Carlos Menchaca, I. Daneek Miller, Keith Powers, Ydanis A. Rodriguez and Paul A. Vallone
Regarding proposed Amendments and Resolutions listed at the end of this statement
Dear Council Members,
We are the United Methodist Clergy and those serving in United Methodist Churches in the Bronx and Manhattan. We represent thirty-one United Methodist churches. We have participated and many members of our congregations have participated in the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police. We fully support the aims of these protests: to get justice for George Floyd and so many others killed by police violence and to seek fundamental changes that will dismantle the ways that a culture of police brutality and murder have been allowed to thrive in cities across the U.S., including in the NYPD. We have seen ample evidence of this culture in the police response to peaceful protesters.
While we support the minimal actions being considered by the committee today, we want to make clear that we do not view these as anywhere close to what will be needed. We note first that police brutality and violence are not the fundamental problem, but a symptom of systemic white supremacy in our society. We also believe that even on the level of policing, implementing real and sustained accountability, including prosecutions and convictions, will require undermining the stranglehold of the police associations and their ability to threaten politicians who criticize the police.
We are committed to this struggle for the long haul. We hope the protests continue. As President Barack Obama said recently, “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” And, as Frederick Douglass so powerfully stated:
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning…. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
We stand strong in our faith that God who is Love and Justice, will guide our steps and help us to not grow weary, but remain strong and resilient. We pray the same for you.
Thank you for the beginning you are making today.
Rev. Denise Smartt Sears, Metropolitan District Superintendent
Rev. Cathy Gilliard, Park Avenue UMC
Isaiah Fish, Park Avenue UMC
Rev. Janet Hodge, Crawford Memorial UMC
Rev. Marvin Moss, Salem UMC
Rev. T. Anne Daniel, Wakefield Grace UMC
Rev. Allen N. Pinckney, Butler Memorial UMC
Rev. Arnaldo Sanchez-Orta, Iglesia Evangelica de Co-op City
Rev. Gordon A. R. Edwards, Westchester United Methodist Church
Rev. David Jolly, Trinity United Methodist Church
Rev. Hermon L. Darden, St. Stephen’s English United Methodist Church
Rev. Nelson Garcia, St. Stephen’s Spanish UMC / Iglesia Metodista Unida San Esteban Espana Hispana
Rev. Saekwan Jin, Bethel UMC
Rev. Esau Abadio Greene, Fordham UMC
Rev. Wesley Daniel, Calvary UMC
Rev. Edward J. Norman, Tremont UMC
Rev. Annette Rodriguez, Woodycrest UMC
Rev. Michael D. Jenkins, Epworth UMC
Rev. Samuel A. Arhin, Ghana UMC
Rev. Lydia Lebron, Grace UMC
Rev. Richard Hayes, Metropolitan Community UMC
Rev. Lori Hartman, Mount Calvary/St. Mark’s UMC
Rev. Dorlimar Lebrón Malavé, First Spanish UMC
Rev. Mickey Correa, Christ Church UM Washington Heights
Rev. Shari Fleming Ponder, Salem UMC
Rev. Daniel Seunghyun Cho, HA:N UMC/Grace UMC
Rev. YongBo Lee, Korean Methodist Church and Institute
Rev. Luke Jaeyong Park, Morningside UMC and Chinese UMC
Rev. Jinwoo Joshua Kim, Metropolitan Koryo UMC
Japanese American United Church
Rev. Stefanie Bennett, John Street UMC
Rev. James K. Karpen, St. Paul & St. Andrew UMC
Rev. Lea Matthews, St. Paul & St. Andrew UMC
Rev. Stephen Bauman, Christ Church UM
Rev. Violet Lee, Christ Church UM
Rev. Jeff Wells, UM Church of the Village
Rev. Alexis James Waggoner, UM Church of the Village
The statement above is regarding the following amendments and resolutions:
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to chokeholds and other such restraints.
Proposed Int. No. 536-A
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to respecting the right to record police activities.
Proposed Int. No. 721-A
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to an early intervention system.
Proposed Int. No. 760-A
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring visible shield numbers and rank designations.
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.6144 and S.6670A, legislation that would establish the crime of strangulation in the first degree; disregard of banned employment procedures.
Proposed Res. No. 27-A
Resolution calling upon the United States Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act of 2019 (H.R. 4408), which would prohibit police chokeholds and other tactics that result in asphyxiation.