Roosevelt Island Residents Meet With RIOC Directors On Public Safety Brutality Allegations - Call For Removal Of Public Safety Department Director And Deputy
2/25 RIOC Ops Committee Discussion On Public Safety Brutality Allegations
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee met yesterday (audio web cast of meeting will be here) planning to discuss security cameras on Public Safety officers and in Public Safety facilities. Immediately upon hearing this, Roosevelt Island resident Ike Nathem (one of the organizers of 2/16 Pubic Safety Protest Demonstration) interrupted RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki and sought permission to ask a question which Mr. Shinozaki agreed to allow. Mr. Nathem asked why the RIOC Board was discussing security cameras instead of the brutality allegations directed at the Public Safety Department. According to Mr. Nathem:
...there is a crisis here centered on Pubic Safety conduct and leadership of public safety ... I think that should be discussed as opposed to security cameras...Mr. Shinozaki explained that RIOC is:
... that's like discussing a weather vane in the middle of Hurricane Sandy...
... I don't understand why we are discussing security cameras when the community is demanding that Guerra and Bryan and that brutal regime must get the hell out of here so I don't understand why we are discussing security cameras when the crisis is that ... not that I am against security cameras....
... trying to figure out how to hold Pubic Safety accountable so we have evidence based actions....One way to hold Public Safety accountable is with security cameras said Mr. Shinozaki and he added that from now on, if Public Safety officers use any level of force:
... handcuffs and up on the force ladder, the Board is immediately notified...RIOC Director David Kraut said:
... I have to say that problems are less with Public Safety than they are with your Board of Directors, to tell the truth. I’m not saying that we were lax in any way, but in fact, Public Safety should have been taking their leadership and guidance from us for 20 years, 25 years, and we’re only now at the point where we’re establishing policies, the kind of stuff Mike is talking about. We’re behind the eight-ball here. We should have been out in front of the issue from the go, and we weren’t, and now people are unhappy.RIOC Director Margie Smith urged residents with complaints to file them with RIOC so that investigations can be conducted. Residents said RIOC either has the complaints and has not acted upon them or expressed frustration that nothing would be done if they file those complaints. Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Chair Erin Feeley-Nahem said that she would deliver written complaints detailing examples of Public Safety brutality to the RIOC Board at their February 28 meeting.
That doesn’t mean that all this crap that you’re talking to us is true or right. Some of you are famous on the Island for making stuff up. You just are. I’m on the rock 34 years, on this Board 19 years, and I know my neighbors....
The residents attending the meeting demanded that the Board immediately dismiss/seek resignation of Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra citing as precedent the immediate forced resignation/firing of bus driver Neil Steuber.
Acting RIOC President Don Lewis remained mostly silent throughout the entire meeting though he could be observed whispering to others at the Board table and did agree to meet with Mr. Steuber to discuss Mr. Steuber getting his RIOC job back.
Mr. Guerra sat silently at the table with the other RIOC Directors. Several Pubic Safety Officers sat quietly in the back of the room. NYPD officers from the 114th precinct, including Precinct Commander Cirabisi, were on hand to provide assistance if necessary. It wasn't.
Here's video of the meeting.
Following this Public Meeting, the RIOC Board met with Mr. Guerra and several Public Safety Officers in Executive Session without the public or press being allowed to attend.