"Mothers and other family members who have lost loved ones are coming together because we don’t want anyone else to suffer in the way we have had to." – Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell who was shot 50 times by police.
Mothers who lost loved ones to police brutality gathered in Albany and again at New York City Hall urging Governor Cuomo to assign a special prosecutor to cases where police kill civilians.
They are not alone! Shortly after the non-indictment of the officers who killed Eric Garner, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked Governor Andrew Cuomo for immediate authority to investigate and prosecute police killings of citizens. Cuomo could do this with one stroke of his pen, by signing an executive order. Raise your voice now and urge Gov. Cuomo to immediately sign an executive order authorizing Attorney General Schneiderman to investigate and prosecute police killings of civilians in New York.
*Join us — and ColorOfChange — in calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to take action by signing on to our open letter. Just fill out the form to add your name.
Here's the open letter we'll send Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo,
I am urging that you sign an executive order authorizing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate and prosecute police killings of New Yorkers.
Too often, police officers motivated by racial stereotypes kill Black New Yorkers and are never held accountable, which sends a dangerous message that condones future violence. You now have an opportunity to change that.
Shortly after the news that there would be no indictment for the officers who killed Eric Garner, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requested that you grant him immediate authority to investigate and prosecute police killings of citizens. By signing the executive order you could address the deep public anger and steeply eroding trust in the state's justice system. Your proposal to create an independent monitor with the power to recommend a special prosecutor whom you appoint doesn't go nearly far enough to address the historical failure of local prosecutors to hold police officers accountable when civilians are killed.
The truth is, while people across the state continue to express outrage over a Staten Island grand jury's failure to hold any of Eric Garner's killers accountable, this case isn't unique. When officers kill, they are rarely held fully accountable by local prosecutors, who are focused on maintaining collegial relationships with officers and the police union than actually securing justice for a black or brown victim. This has to stop.
By holding the police accountable, you can set an example for the rest of the country and send a strong message to law enforcement across the state that your office will protect our community against racial profiling and senseless police violence, especially when local or state prosecutors fail to do so.
I urge you to restore public confidence in the state's criminal justice system by acting on Attorney General Schneiderman's request to appoint him as a special prosecutor in future cases that involve a police officer's actions leading to the death of a civilian.