• Strategy For Black Lives

Foley Square Press Release

July 30, 2020



Police brutality and the systemic targeting of Black and Brown people in New York City have persisted across each mayoral administration, City Council, and police commissioner. Especially the assault on vulnerable communities that include our trans and youth citizens. While the most recent wave of demonstrations against police violence and in support of Black lives are estimated to be the largest protest movement in American history, we have thus far refrained from calling for specific high-level officials to step down. That changes today, as NYC Action Lab, Strategy for Black Lives, Freedom March NYC, Black Women’s March, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, community leader Vidal Guzman, and other organizers along with elected officials join together in calling for the resignation of New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

This is not a decision to be taken lightly, but after this week’s events, we are left with no choice.

After months of violent crackdown on non-violent demonstrators and a history of systemic racism, plainclothes agents forcing a protester into an unmarked vehicle is a clear violation of her rights. It was also a painfully disturbing violation of the social contract between state and citizen. The police’s mandate to exist is derived from their duty to protect and serve. Their decision to infringe on the rights of individuals, punish vulnerable communities for speaking up, and intimidate the City into silence must not go unchecked.

It is time for the commissioner to step down; it is time for Mayor Bill de Blasio to step up. The mayor must recognize that his constituents, who democratically elected him, are suffering indignities and injustices, at the hands of the police, far too great to ignore. We implore the mayor to do his duty by ensuring that the police do theirs.

Give us a police commissioner who recognizes that their obligation is not to New York’s police officers, but to its people. Hold officers accountable to the civilians they exist to serve. Countless lines have been crossed countless times, but now the mayor must truly draw a line in the sand.

Commissioner Shea must resign. Mayor de Blasio must justify his continued stewardship of this great city by proving that the people are his priority.

Note: Elected officials joining us at today’s press conference include State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, State Senator Zelnor Myrie, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera.