Press & Statements

Progressive Caucus Statement on the Trump Administration’s Decision to End DACA

 New York, NY— The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is outraged by the Trump administration’s cruel decision to formally end DACA — a program that had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. Many Dreamers have never known another home than the US. In the five years since DACA was enacted, the almost 800,000 individuals who have received the legal protections under the law have started families, pursued careers and studied in schools and colleges across the country. The Caucus stands with DACA recipients and their families, as well as our elected colleagues across the state of New York, to demand that Congress act to preserve the program’s protections before the DACA recipients begin losing their status early next year. We also continually pledge, as progressive elected officials, to stand up for the rights of our fellow New Yorkers and to fight for our values as a sanctuary city.

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New York City Council Progressive Caucus announces new filings against NYPD denial of information

New York, NY – On August 17, 2017, the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council held a press conference to announce their legal filing of an amicus brief urging the court to reject the NYPD’s concealment of records regarding the killing of Ramarley Graham. Unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot and killed in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother by NYPD Officer Richard Haste in 2012.

“Ramarley Graham’s family deserves to understand the circumstances of Ramarley’s death,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “The family has been seeking justice and transparency for the last five years, since Ramarley was killed by NYPD Officer Haste in 2012. That’s why the Progressive Caucus has filed a legal amicus brief supporting the family in their continual challenges to the NYPD’s denial of information. The Progressive Caucus is committed to issues of police accountability and transparency, and building stronger relationships between the police and the communities that they serve.  We hope the court considers the precedent that will be set by this case for the future of ongoing efforts to rebuild public trust in the NYPD.”

“Time after time, the NYPD continues to withhold information that would go a long way toward understanding and closure for the families of New Yorkers who were killed at the hands of the NYPD,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Ramarley Graham’s family has been waiting five long years for relief, so it is long past due that the NYPD provide transparency and accountability for the actions of their officers. It is time for them to do what is right and hold trials for the other officers and release the details of the case to the Graham family.”

“I wholeheartedly join my Progressive Caucus colleagues in their continued call on the NYPD to fully inform the family of Ramarley Graham and all New Yorkers regarding their investigation into Ramarley’s death,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Vice-Chair of Budget for the Progressive Caucus. “It is essential that the NYPD act in in a transparent and accountable fashion to maintain public trust.”

“For an administration that has repeated commitments to better transparency and accountability around the better policing conversation, it remains aggravating to hear these commitments, while simultaneously keeping information from Ramarley Graham’s family regarding the circumstances around his murder. It’s time that the words are backed by real-time action,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, member of the Progressive Caucus.

“The family of Ramarley Graham has suffered for too long and all they seek is justice for the death of their son. It is long overdue. We’ll continue to stand and fight with them until the culpable officers are held accountable and the family receives the closure they deserve,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, member of the Progressive Caucus.

“Transparency and accountability for charges of police misconduct are essential to ensure public trust and safety,” said Council Member Brad Lander, member of the Progressive Caucus. More than 5 years after Ramarley Graham was killed, his family still has neither transparency nor accountability: for the unlawful entry into their home, for the taking of his life, for how family members were treated by officers, for the release of information about Ramarley that violated state law. It is long past time — and the least that New York City owes Ramarley’s family and all New Yorkers.”

The family of Ramarley Graham has been seeking information on his killing for over five years, since he was killed in 2012. They have sent repeated letters and requests to the NYPD but never received a response from the City. The lack of response forced them to file an extensive Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request in order to access information that could illuminate the misconduct related to Graham’s killing.

Further lack of cooperation from the NYPD led to Graham’s family and supporters to file a lawsuit forcing the NYPD to comply with state freedom of information law by releasing the information. Yet nonetheless, the NYPD continues to fight compliance to release the information on the police activity that led to Ramarley Graham’s killing.

In the News:

Press Release from Communities United for Police Reform (CPR)

NY Daily News: City Council Progressive Caucus backs Ramarley Graham’s family in effort to get NYPD records

Gothamist: City Councilmembers To NYPD: Release Ramarley Graham’s Records To His Family

 

 

Progressive Caucus Outraged at Racial Statement Made Against Senator Stewart-Cousins

New York, NY – The Progressive Caucus condemns the comments made by hedge fund billionaire Daniel Loeb, taking aim at New York State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Westchester, the chamber’s first black female majority leader. In a Facebook post, Loeb, a major financial supporter of Governor Cuomo, said, “hypocrites like Stewart-Cousins who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood.”

To compare the first female legislative leader, specifically the first black female legislative leader, in New York State history to a white supremacist terrorist organization is shocking and shameful. In her decades long career, Stewart-Cousins has been a champion of same-sex marriage, equitable education, women and human rights, equal housing opportunities, and a living wage. Members of the Progressive Caucus denounce these comments that perpetuate the dangerous, racist rhetoric that equates those working to advance civil and human rights with the actions of known hate groups, a rhetoric that seems to be creeping into our national discourse. As progressive electeds, we reject this rhetoric which skews focus from the important work of making New York State a place where equal opportunity and respectful dialogue thrives. The Progressive Caucus stands in solidarity with Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

 

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Progressive Caucus statement on NYPD’s U Visa Certification Program

New York, NY – Members of the Progressive Caucus have a long history of supporting the issuance of U visas, which protect undocumented people who are victims of certain crimes. The visas are a lifeline for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or trafficking who come forward to report crime. According to the Department of Investigation’s Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD (OIG-NYPD) report released on July 27, 2017, the NYPD receives more U visa certification requests than any other city agency, but lacks necessary internal standards and procedures consistent with federal guidelines. Current NYPD practices result in needless denials of qualified applicants.

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New York City Council Passes Stand for Tenant Safety Legislative Package, Endorsed by Progressive Caucus, to End Construction as Harassment

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New York, NY – On August 9, 2017, the New York City Council passed legislation that will provide greater protection for tenants, especially in regards to the use of construction as harassment by landlords. The Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) legislation is a part of the Progressive Caucus’ ADVANCEMENT policy platform. Championed by Progressive Caucus Members and tenants and advocates in the Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) Coalition, eleven of the twelve bills in the STS legislative package will moved to passage to strengthen the ability of the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) to protect tenants in regards to construction harassment. The STS Coalition is a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups collaborating with the Progressive Caucus and the eleven City Council prime sponsors to push for the STS legislation.

“I am proud to Stand for Tenant Safety. This a victory for everyone- for the advocates who have been tirelessly working on the ground in our neighborhoods and for the tenants who are being driven out of their rent stabilized homes by unscrupulous landlords. The citywide coalition’s assistance with crafting the legislation has been paramount,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and lead sponsor of Intro 938, 939, and 940. “Today, the Department of Buildings will have a comprehensive package of reforms to work with for better enforcement. These bills strengthen and protect tenants’ rights to stay in their homes and not be harassed by construction to their unit or building. This is key legislation for my district of Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood where these tactics run rampant, and just as valuable for families throughout the City.”

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