Shortly after the non-indictment of the officers who killed Eric Garner, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked Governor Andrew Cuomo for immediate authority to investigate and prosecute police killings of citizens. Cuomo could do this with one stroke of his pen, by signing an executive order. But so far, he’s refused.
Governor Cuomo proposed a criminal justice reform package in his 2015 state budget. But he failed to include Schneiderman’s request to investigate future Eric Garner-like cases. Raise your voice now and demand Gov. Cuomo immediately sign an executive order authorizing Attorney General Schneiderman to investigate and prosecute killer cops.
Below is the letter we’ll send to Gov. Cuomo on your behalf. You can add a personal comment using the space provided.
I am demanding that you sign an executive order authorizing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate and prosecute police killings of New Yorkers.
Too often, police officers motivated by racial stereotypes kill Black New Yorkers and are never held accountable, which sends a dangerous message that condones future violence. You now have an opportunity to change that.
Shortly after the news that there would be no indictment for the officers who killed Eric Garner, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requested that you grant him immediate authority to investigate and prosecute police killings of citizens. By signing the executive order you could address the deep public anger and steeply eroding trust in the state’s justice system. Your proposal to create an independent monitor with the power to recommend a special prosecutor whom you appoint is counterproductive and doesn’t go nearly far enough to address the historical failure of local prosecutors to hold police officers accountable when civilians are killed.
The truth is, while people across the state continue to express outrage over a Staten Island grand jury’s failure to hold any of Eric Garner’s killers accountable, this case isn’t unique. When officers kill, they are rarely held fully accountable by local prosecutors, who are focused on maintaining collegial relationships with officers and the police union than actually securing justice for a Black or Brown victim. This has to stop.
By holding killer cops accountable for their deadly actions, you can set an example for the rest of the country and send a strong message to law enforcement across the state that your office will protect our community against racial profiling and senseless police violence, especially when local or state prosecutors fail to do so.
I urge you to restore public confidence in the criminal justice system by acting on Attorney General Schneiderman’s request to appoint him as a special prosecutor in future cases that involve a police officer’s actions leading to the death of a civilian.