WESPAC Foundation is concerned about the criminal justice system. We work in solidarity with other groups and organizations in Westchester County to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws, to eliminate racial profiling, and to address the structural and institutional biases inherent in our criminal justice system. We stand to permanently remove the death penalty as a legal option for the state, and we seek to significantly reduce the prison populations by working towards a more benevolent economic system that guarantees meaningful jobs and training at a living wage to all people.
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The Antiracist Alliance, WCPR, the local chapter of NYCLU as well as WESPAC have worked together to put together this letter. We are asking for additional organizations, groups and congregations to please add your names if you support our list of specific reforms outlined in the letter. Now is the moment. If you agree, please sign on here June 5, 2020
A Call to Police Leaders
Communities across the country, including our own, are angered and appalled as we witness an unending stream of callous, disrespectful, and often deadly encounters between police and civilians. While many of these events occur elsewhere, both individual experience and published research reports tell us that there is not a community in Westchester County that is not afflicted by disturbing police-civilian encounters, racially biased policing practices, and a problematic lack of transparency by its law enforcement agencies.
This is a call for you to make a firm and public commitment to transparency, accountability, and a zero-tolerance approach to police misconduct.
While we are wary after decades of refusals to reform, we remain willing to partner with our law enforcement leaders who embrace the tenets of accountability, transparency, equal justice, and respect for all human life.
Below you will find a list of specific reforms that we wish to see implemented immediately here in Westchester. Achieving these recommendations will send a strong message to all members of our community that our leaders are committed to fundamentally redefining the relationship between our police department and our community. This is tough work, but if we commit to it, we can build a stronger community: one that is rooted in the fundamental ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In peace and commitment to partnership for the safety of all,
Residents and organizations of Westchester County (list is still in formation):
Blacks in Law Enforcement
Indivisible New Rochelle
Indivisible Westchester Districts 6 & 7
Indivisible White Plains
Indivisible Yorktown Heights
PISAB/The People’s Institute; for Survival and Beyond NY/Northeast
SURJ Westchester Coordinating Committee
Westchester Black Political Conference
Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia
Westchester Coalition for Police Reform
Westchester for Change
Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence
We expect you, as leaders with authority and responsibility for law enforcement in Westchester County, to assume full responsibility for meeting the highest possible standard of accountability, transparency and equal protection to all residents and visitors to our county. Our specific expectations are detailed below.
Make publicly available the current policies and patrol guides of all law enforcement agencies under County jurisdiction, including but not limited to policies on: de-escalation tactics, implicit bias, use of force, department diversity, enforcement of low-level offenses, field interviews, search and seizure, use of surveillance technology, and the penalties for violating these policies.
Make public the training materials used for police officers: including hours spent training on de-escalation, implicit bias, and use of force.
Commit to collecting comprehensive data on all police stops – including the rationale for the stop and the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of people stopped – and making that data publicly available.
Pass legislation/Require officers making police stops to provide an identification card, state the reason for the interaction, and to state that you may not be searched without your consent without probable cause.
Pass legislation/Require a full, independent investigation into any police-civilian interaction that results in civilian injury or death.
Advocate for legislation that would make the measures outlined above mandatory throughout New York State, including Repeal 50-a, (the law which currently cloaks police officers’ disciplinary records in secrecy), the Right-to-Know Act, which requires officer identification during police stops, and the Police-STAT Act, which requires that police departments collect and report data on police stops so that they can be monitored for patterns of racial profiling.
We remain committed to working to advance racial justice and hold our police officers accountable, and we invite you to join us in this fight.
On Monday, May 13 2019, advocates from around the state will be gathering in Albany for the NYCLU’s statewide Day of Action. Register NOW to be at the forefront of transforming New York’s policies. We are showing up to demand a New York that protects the civil liberties of all New Yorkers.
Our Day of Action is a great way to get involved in the legislative and advocacy work of the NYCLU. There will be workshops, lobby visits, and activities to help encourage our elected officials to take action on the issues that matter most to us.
Join us as we stand up for immigrants, fight hate, protect democracy and defend justice. We will provide transportation, meals and there will be NYCLU giveaways.
Register now to secure your spot, and we will be in touch with further details, including transportation information. Please register even if you are “just thinking about it”!
Y para gente que habla español, haga clic aqui.
For more info contact us at:
We look forward to seeing on May 13th!
Dear WESPAC comrades and friends,
I’m writing to ask as many of you as possible to join us at an all-day parole justice advocacy day on Tues, Jan. 29th in Albany. The day is hosted by Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP, Parole Preparation Project and other advocates and communities across New York. We’ll march, rally and meet with legislators in support of our advocacy demands (see http://rappcampaign.com/wp-content/uploads/NEW-RAPP-Fact-Sheet.pdf). It is critical right now to show the policy-makers in Albany that our communities are watching them and will continue our fight for justice.
RSVP HERE: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeN6blXUUhOT5jkQTBILkfF8oG-mDSdL7set3Ma-TcZYfCqAw/viewform to join us on January 29th in Albany (IF ANY LINKS don’t work, please go to RAPPCampaign.com/events – everything is available there.)
Free transportation will be provided from NYC and other regions of the state as needed. Food will also be provided.
Can we expect to work together again, as we all have in the past? If so, how many of you can attend?
We have a real chance this legislative session to ensure that all incarcerated New Yorkers have a fair and meaningful opportunity for parole release. Join us on January 29th and help us get there.
Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP
For all details please visit: https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/
We will be joined by Cynthia Williams, a 2015 Beyond the Bars of Justice Fellow at Columbia University, who spent time in a federal facility and who will speak about how arbitrary and dehumanizing the system is, how she coped and how people end up in solitary confinement. She will also speak about the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement and will inspire us to get involved and to effect positive change.
This event is free and open to the public. WESPAC has 10 copies of the book Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement in our office that are available now ahead of the event for people to read and become more familiar with this issue. Please call to arrange pick up. The United Nations has defined solitary confinement as a form of torture. Free will offerings to support Cynthia and this work will be requested. For more information, call 914.449.6514 or email [email protected].
Nada will be presenting a report on Thursday, September 28th at 7pm at WESPAC regarding her participation at the Annual NACOLE Conference on behalf of WCPR.
On September 10th, hundreds of members of law enforcement, community leaders, elected officials, journalists, academics, students and oversight professionals will gather in Spokane, Washington, for the annual four day NACOLE conference (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement): http://www.nacole.org/2017_annual_conference .
Conference attendees will be able to choose from 31 different concurrent and plenary sessions on a wide range of topics including Building Community Trust, Trauma Informed Policing, Auditing for Accountability, Evaluating Police Use of Force and much more. Attendees will be part of a learning and networking event that will provide inspiration, ideas and practical knowledge as we work for a vision of implementing best practices and enhanced police legitimacy in our local communities and around the nation.
US prisons may be largely hidden from sight, but their environmental toxicity spreads far beyond their walls.