I hope you and your family are safe and well. This is a challenging moment for New York City, and it is on all of our elected leaders to use our power for meaningful change. Including me.

Today, the New York City Council is holding a hearing on legislation to address police misconduct, including a bill to ban and criminalize the use of chokeholds by the New York Police Department. This bill now has 35 co-sponsors, enough to override a veto by the mayor should he choose to exercise it.

The package also includes:

  1. Disciplinary Matrix for the NYPD: A disciplinary matrix creates clear guidelines for police discipline. Major police departments across the country use them to create transparency and build public trust. This bill will require the NYPD to adopt a matrix.

  2. Requiring Visible Badge Numbers: When officers cover their badge numbers, it's almost impossible to identify them in a complaint. This bill will require officers to make their badge numbers visible after being asked.

  3. An Early Intervention System: The NYPD’s existing Early Intervention System needs to be overhauled to make sure the department is identifying problematic officers and trends. This bill will require the NYPD to overhaul its system with more data points and transparent reporting.

  4. The Right to Record: The bill would reaffirm New Yorkers’ right to record police activity in public places, as guaranteed by our First Amendment rights. Unfortunately, we've seen too many instances where people documenting police activity were arrested, detained, or had their property damaged for exercising their constitutional rights.

I want to be clear: these reforms are long overdue, and it is not the end of our work to change policing in New York City. We can’t let this moment pass, the same way we have done over and over again.

We can start by making significant cuts to the NYPD budget and reinvesting that money in communities. That means getting police out of our schools, out of homeless services, and out of mental health. Police should not be the front-line first responders to every problem in New York City.

You have my commitment to keep going, to keep pushing for real, meaningful change to policing and justice in our city.

All my best,

— Corey

Corey Johnson
NYC Council Speaker