NYCLU: Garner Anniversary Underscores Need for Vast Culture Shift, Smart Criminal Justice Policies

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
July 17, 2015 9:00 am

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July 17, 1014 – On the one-year anniversary of the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island father of six accused of selling loose cigarettes illegally, the leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement. It is attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“Today the NYCLU and our 55,000 members across New York State honor the memory of Eric Garner and all of the others across the country who have lost their lives at the hands of the police. And we pay tribute to the women – mothers, wives, sisters – who have transformed their grief into power and waged a successful campaign to win a special prosecutor. Their victory is an important step toward restoring trust in our justice system. But there remains an enormous amount of work to do in Albany, in New York City and across the nation to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect by the police, who are charged with protecting them and respecting the rights of all people. The NYPD and police departments everywhere have an enormously important and challenging job and they must take every aspect of it to heart. We need a vast culture shift and smarter criminal justice policies so that law enforcement officers understand their responsibility to protect both safety and individual rights. And we need real transparency and accountability so police officers no longer believe they can act without consequence.”

The NYCLU is among the dozens of civil rights, labor, religious, community and social justice organizations organizing the #Rally4Justice at noon Saturday in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza to demand justice for Garner and transformation of the justice system. The NYCLU has also been leading the legal effort to release to the public the records of the Staten Island Grand Jury that failed to indict the NYPD officer who killed Garner. The NYCLU in May filed an appeal in the case in the Appellate Division, Second Department. It is joined in its effort for the Legal Aid Society, the NAACP of Staten Island and the Public Advocate’s Office.

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