Thursday, July 2, 2020

Roosevelt Island Community Activist Frank Farance Gives Testimony To NY State Attorney General Letitia James Hearing Investigating NYPD and Public Interactions During Protests in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death

According NY State Attorney General Letitia James:

The Attorney General’s Office is charged with investigating New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) response to recent protests, including any allegations of misconduct....

... As part of this investigation into interactions between NYPD officers and civilians during recent protests following the killing of George Floyd, Attorney General James, joined by special advisors to the investigation, former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch and founding Director of New York University Policing Project Barry Friedman, held a virtual public hearing on June 17 and June 18 to examine the nature and details of these interactions.

Members of the public, government officials, and community leaders were invited to provide written and oral testimony. In total, there were more than 300 submitted pieces of written testimony and 17 hours of oral testimony from individuals present at protests, elected officials, legal groups, and community organizations. There were 52 speakers on the first day of the hearing, including 20 members of the public, 17 government officials, and 15 community organizations. The second day of the hearing saw 48 speakers, with 44 members of the public, two government officials, a community organization, and a law enforcement organization.

Among those giving written testimony to the June 17-18 hearings was Roosevelt Island community activist Frank Farance.

Mr Farance summarizes his testimony below

This is my testimony which addresses a broad set of issues for reform that, presently, negatively skew with racial-ethnic-socioeconomic bias and discrimination. Roosevelt Island has some good successes, and some failures, which are worth studying. There are many other issues that are beyond Roosevelt Island, which I address. The testimony is based upon life-long advocacy for numerous causes and volunteer efforts, personal interactions and experiences, broad research, and prior testimony in various venues. I will be following up with legislators and officials to advocate for progress.

Here are the bullet points (detailed in the testimony) of the key takeaways:

- Takeaway 1, Rights of the Individual and of Society: a balancing act
- Takeaway 2, Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB): why communities need them,   Roosevelt Island Residents Aassociatoin (RIRA) Public Safety Committee (PSC) serves that purpose for Roosevelt Island
- Takeaway 3, Investment in Youth: some key insights and great successes on Roosevelt Island
- Takeaway 4, Need Stronger Penalties for Corruption: once you're into the legal system, there are many injustices at every level
- Takeaway 5, Schools and PTAs: how this contributes to bias, discrimination and Separate-But-UNEQUAL education, including failures on Roosevelt Island
- Takeaway 6, Take the NYPD Police Academy training on Lawful Policing: it would be great if we could receive this presentation on Roosevelt Island, as taught by NYPD instructors

Discrimination is broad and pervasive, and it's not just institutional racism/biases in law enforcement.
and here is his full submitted testimony.

More info on the hearing at NY State Attorney General web site and here's testimony

from NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.


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