Read my analysis and watch the video in the previous post.
WILLIAMS & BICHOTTE RESPOND TO CONTROVERSIAL ARREST AT FLATBUSH JUNCTION
For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2015
BROOKLYN: Today, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and co-chair of the Council's Task Force to Combat Gun Violence and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn), Vice Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators and Chair of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Oversight Subcommittee, released the following statement after a controversial arrest was made by the New York Police Department at the Flatbush Junction Target. A video posted online shows police punching a man as they pinned him to the ground while arresting him for trespassing. Click here to view the video.
STATEMENT BY COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS
& ASSEMBLY MEMBER BICHOTTE
"It is without question painful to see video of another unarmed black person undergo what appears to be excessive, forceful detainment by police. At the same time, and in this charged atmosphere, we must take caution not to unnecessarily inflame while addressing very real and valid concerns on police-community relations. As elected officials of this area, we believe we must do both.
"Given that the 14-minute video began with an arrest, it is appropriate to understand what led to the incident. Though a formal investigation is still underway, it appears that the gentleman arrested was at the Flatbush Junction Target a day earlier and had several exchanges with employees that led to at least one feeling unsafe. The man reportedly came back the following day and Target employees eventually called for NYPD assistance. This information was gathered after speaking with those who had first-hand knowledge of the incident and from members of the NYPD's 70th Precinct. From what we've learned, it seems that NYPD initiating contact was warranted and requested. It must also be noted that while on the floor, the man's hands appear to be underneath him and out of sight, which could reasonably cause concern to officers. We know it's not practical to believe that every lawful arrest will be done without any force at all. Additionally, we must be careful not to treat every incident like the most egregious ones, lest we appear to weaken very legitimate concerns.
"With that said, there are still questions that should be asked around the NYPD's use of force-- particularly punches used to effect an arrest. In fact, it was the aggressive punching that seemed to alarm the shoppers more than the arrest itself. These questions include: Was this person mentally or emotionally disturbed? Was the use of force reasonable to get the person to comply if he was not complying? Was this use of force incorporated in department training or were these actions out of frustration? Is this same force used equally across the city, irrespective of neighborhood, class or race? These are realistic questions based on a reality that has legitimately led to the charged atmosphere we are in today. Still, they must be asked responsibly with the attempt to balance actual, not perceived, problems with over policing and the real difficulty and uncertainty of each policing encounter. Today, these questions and more will be sent in a letter to Target and the Police Department and we will await a response. Additionally, it's our hope that investigators move swiftly in dealing with this case and are transparent with their findings.
"This time next week, our city will be preparing to hold its annual National Night Out for police and community to come together. In light of this and other incidents - including the questions that linger and the charged climate we are in - it's our hope that New Yorkers across the city attend this event to once again bring a loud voice to these concerns and to help build stronger community engagement/relations. Though it's just a small step toward fixing our damaged public safety system, it's a good place to start."
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte represents the 42nd Assembly District in the New York State Assembly representing Brooklyn communities of Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood. Assemblymember Bichotte has been appointed
Chair of the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs)Subcommittee and elected as Vice Chair New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators. She currently serves on the following committees:
Housing, Government Operations, Economic Development, Small Businesses, Banks and Social Services.
As the current Assemblymember and District Leader, Rodneyse Bichotte has been outspoken advocate on issues concerning immigration, unemployment, education reform, health care access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, women's and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community.