“#Lawmakers, police unions blast City Council for out-of-control NYPD oversight hearing”
June 11, 2020 | 8:31pm
Lawmakers blasted foul gestures toward officials during a remote council meeting on NYPD.
“The hearing descended into vile, cop-hating rhetoric that was completely unproductive and dangerous,” said Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens).
“Some of this would never have been allowed in the Council Chambers or any other legislative body, but it is somehow now acceptable on Zoom hearings,” he said.
Police brass including First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker testified at the hearing about the NYPD’s budget and responded to the department’s crackdown on protesters at demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.
After Tucker spoke at the June 9 hearing Jessica New, an activist, claimed “the NYPD have been allowed to get away with literal murder for almost a decade.”
“I’m so tired of trying to do incremental reforms that don’t do shit,” she said.
Jillian Primiano, who described herself as a nurse from Brooklyn, used similarly incendiary language against the police.
“I am for the abolition of all armed racist gangs in this country, especially the NYPD,” Primiano said.
At least two witnesses gave the middle finger during the Zoom hearing, according to screenshots.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) said he was shocked by the “overall lack of civility and decorum demonstrated at Tuesday’s hearing.”
“No member of law enforcement or the City Council should ever be subjected to this type of harassment and verbal abuse during an official proceeding. Speaker [Corey] Johnson needs to implement clear rules and guidelines for how members of the public can participate in the virtual hearings,” Ulrich said.
Several law enforcement unions also spoke out against the unruly behavior.
“As elected officials in the New York City Council continue to threaten the public safety of New Yorkers in all five boroughs by kowtowing to the anti-police rhetoric, we would like to praise Council Members Holden and Ulrich for speaking up against the anti-police fervor that has replaced civil discourse and common sense reform,” said Lieutenants’ Benevolent Association President Lou Turco.
Reps for Council Speaker Johnson declined to comment but Councilman Donavan Richards (D-Queens), who chaired Tuesday’s public safety committee hearing, waved away the complaints.
“The protestors were cursing at me too, where’s my defense?” Richards asked, noting that “We all have an obligation to hear each other out.”
“When the police unions denounce the actions and condemn the actions of their membership who beat peaceful protestors with batons… then we can have a real conversation,” Richard said.
“There needs to be an acknowledgement the police caused a tremendous amount of distrust with the community and they have themselves to blame. Until then, god bless you,” he added.
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