The two bills passed by the New York City Council aim to increase oversight over NYPD by requiring record-keeping for police stops and prevent senseless deaths at Rikers Island by limiting the use of solitary confinement.
The ban on Solitary Confinement in city jails is the result of years of activism by a coalition of family and loved ones, organizations and stakeholders including AVP, which was loud in its advocacy for justice in the death of Layleen Polanco, a young Black trans woman who died after being in solitary confinement at Rikers for nine days. City Jails are now required to provide at least 14 hours of time in collective spaces due to the known harms of this type of confinement.
The How Many Stops Act brings additional accountability to NYPD interactions with the public, requiring documentation from officers for lower-level stops – which in many cases have lead to the harassment and over-policing of marginalized groups including LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ people of color.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project thanks the New York City Council, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, as well as the amazing collective of grassroots organizations, particularly those in the Communities United for Police Reform coalition, who worked tirelessly for these important changes on behalf of New Yorkers.
Executive Director of AVP, Beverly Tillery, responds:
“Today we remember Layleen Polanco, and too many others who lost their lives in solitary confinement at Rikers, and hope that no one else experiences this tragedy. Our LGBTQ+ Black and brown siblings are often subject to this inhumane and harmful practice, with terrible and sometimes irrevocable consequences to their health and well-being. The passage of a ban on solitary confinement is one small step to protecting life and dignity for those within Rikers and all city jails.
We also think of the many New Yorkers, many also from our communities, who have been victimized or harassed in interactions with law enforcement, their stories often ignored or dismissed. The accountability and protections that the How Many Stops Act legislation will provide for our communities will have a major impact on our ability to demand and receive fair and equitable treatment.
Mayor Adams must sign both of these bills into law to ensure his administration is truly a supporter of accountability for New York’s criminal justice system.”