By the time Tyquan Brehon turned 18, he had been stopped and frisked by NYPD officers more than 60 times. On several occasions, he was handcuffed and detained in a cell for hours, merely for asking the reason for the stop. Like almost 90% of those stopped and frisked in our city, he was never arrested or even issued a summons. These experiences were deeply scarring and humiliating, to the point that he would avoid police however he could, including by skipping classes at his heavily patrolled high school.
In 2011, the NYPD conducted over 684,000 stops, largely targeting communities of color and other minority groups including young people, immigrants, and LGBT individuals. Those who have been subjected to these stops often complain of verbal, physical, and sexual harassment by the police; the humiliation of being interrogated in their own communities; improper arrests and the lifelong consequences they bring; and a host of other difficulties. This and other invasive police practices actually make our communities less safe by fostering an environment of fear and mistrust of the police.
MYD voted in February to join Communities united for Police Reform (CPR), a coalition of organizations dedicated to reforming our city’s police force. On September 27, we will participate in a rally at City Hall to push for the passage of the Community Safety Act, a series of bills designed to increase accountability and empower citizens. The Social Justice (CASE) Committee is sending MYD members to lobbying training at 25 W. 18th St., 5th Flr Conference Center on Wednesday (9/19) at 5:30p to prepare them to speak with our Council Members about these bills after the rally. (Unfortunately, due to limited space in the trainings, we ask that only those available to lobby in the afternoon on 9/27 register at the link above.) We hope you’ll email Eli ([email protected]) to sign up for this exciting opportunity to become directly involved in local politics around a critical progressive issue – OR feel free to simply show up at the lunchtime rally at City Hall!
Through his advocacy work on this issue, Tyquan has become empowered to overcome his negative experiences with the police, but many others are not so lucky. Get involved today in the effort to ensure that policing in New York revolves around respect and cooperation.