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Police union boss slams New York AG Letitia James for sweeping reform bill


New York Attorney General Letitia James stood next to Eric Garner’s mom as she cracked down police use of force on Friday- but a powerful union boss claims the bill will make it impossible for cops to do their job.

James announced the proposed sweeping reforms important during ‘a time of racial reckoning’ at press conference on Friday, according to CNBC

‘At a time of racial reckoning in this country, it’s important that we reform the laws and that we provide justice for all individuals who feel that their lives do not matter,’ James said.

The new seven-page bill, dubbed the Police Accountability Act, was sponsored in the State Legislature by State Sen. Kevin S. Parker and Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, both Democrats from Brooklyn. 

If passed, the bill would amend the state’s existing penal code concerning what justifies police use of force and mandating that police officers only use force after all other alternatives have been exhausted.

James’ proposal, revealed on Friday, comes after her frustrations regarding the death of Daniel Prude

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, addresses a news conference at the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, addresses a news conference at the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, said that the criminal justice system 'is in need of drastic reform' and called the proposal 'a bold and necessary action'

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, said that the criminal justice system ‘is in need of drastic reform’ and called the proposal ‘a bold and necessary action’

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reportedly been frustrated that police who killed Daniel Prude, pictured, were not prosecuted

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reportedly been frustrated that police who killed Eric Garner, pictured, were not prosecuted

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reportedly been frustrated that police who killed Daniel Prude, left, and Eric Garner, right, were not prosecuted

The Empire State’s current law does not require officers to exhaust other options and police department patrol guides give officers a large amount of discretion to determine when they a lethal use of force is needed.

Officers would now also be required to first use less-lethal force alternatives and non-force tactics like verbal communication – and the deployment of specialized equipment and personnel, like mental health professionals.

Law enforcement would need to meet ‘higher standards of proof’ to justify their use of force, according to a press release from her office. The new bill would also let prosecutors investigate if an officer’s own conduct created the need for the force.

The proposal also adds three new subsections to the penal code creating criminal penalties for cops who use force causing death or injury deemed ‘grossly in excess of what is warranted’ – making it easier to prosecute them, the bill reads. 

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, said that the criminal justice system ‘is in need of drastic reform’ and called the proposal ‘a bold and necessary action’ in the press release announcing the proposal.

Garner died in 2014 when former NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put the unarmed black man in a chokehold. 

‘For far too long, police officers have gotten away with putting people’s lives in danger without facing consequence of any kind,’ Carr said, according to the release.

‘Not only is that unjust, but it’s deeply painful for those of us who have lost family members to police violence.’ 

Pat Lynch, pictured, ripped into a proposal from Attorney General Letitia James for sweeping police reform

Pat Lynch, pictured, ripped into a proposal from Attorney General Letitia James for sweeping police reform

The Police Benevolent Association posted Pat Lynch's statement to Twitter on Friday

The Police Benevolent Association posted Pat Lynch’s statement to Twitter on Friday

James’ proposal, revealed on Friday, comes after her frustrations regarding the lack of prosecution after the death of Daniel Prude – the 41-year-old black man who died while he was handcuffed, naked and had a spit hood placed over his head.

‘This is not going to change those split second decisions that officers must make [in life-threatening situations],’ James said at the press conference, according to CNBC.

‘There are reasonable protections that officers need in situations like those. That is not what these reforms are about.’ 

Earlier this year, James said when announcing that the seven officers in Daniel Prude’s case would not face charges that her office ‘presented the strongest case possible’ and she was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the decision not to charge them.

‘The criminal justice system has frustrated efforts to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the unjustified killing of African Americans. And what binds these cases is a tragic loss of life in circumstances in which the death could have been avoided,’ James said at the Aenon Missionary Baptist Church in Rochester.

She later added: ‘One recognizes the influences of race, from the slave codes to Jim Crow to lynching to the war on crime to the overincarceration of people of color: Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. And now Daniel Prude.’ 

State Attorney General Letitia James said her office 'presented the strongest case possible' in the case of Daniel Prude and she was 'extremely disappointed' by a grand jury's decision not to charge the police officers responsible for his death

 State Attorney General Letitia James said her office ‘presented the strongest case possible’ in the case of Daniel Prude and she was ‘extremely disappointed’ by a grand jury’s decision not to charge the police officers responsible for his death

The March 23 video made public on Sept. 4 was released in the wake of street demonstrations around the nation over George Floyd´s death. It shows Daniel Prude handcuffed and naked with a spit hood over his head

The March 23 video made public on Sept. 4 was released in the wake of street demonstrations around the nation over George Floyd´s death. It shows Daniel Prude handcuffed and naked with a spit hood over his head

Daniel Panteleo was never prosecuted in relation to Eric Garner¿s death, pictured

Then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr chose not to pursue charges against former NYPD officer Daniel Panteleo,

Then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr chose not to pursue charges against former NYPD officer Daniel Panteleo, right, in relation to Eric Garner’s death, left

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, holds a picture of her son during a demonstration in front of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on July 7, 2015 in New York City

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, holds a picture of her son during a demonstration in front of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on July 7, 2015 in New York City

Pat Lynch, the head of the Police Benevolent  Association for the City of New York, ripped into the proposal from Attorney General Letitia James while noting that ‘violent criminals’ are not hesitating in using force against cops.

‘This sweeping proposal would make it impossible for police officers to determine whether or not we are permitted to use force in a given situation,’ said Lynch, who endorsed Donald Trump for president in the 2020 election,’ he said.

‘The only reasonable solution will be to avoid confrontations where force might become necessary. Meanwhile, violent criminals certainly aren’t hesitating to use force against police officers or our communities.’

He added: ‘The bottom line: more cops and more regular New Yorkers re going to get hurt.’

The union was not the only voice of criticism for the bill. Dennis Kenney, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor, told The New York Times that the bill ‘creates a great deal of unnecessary ambiguity,’

‘They may more easily be able to bring charges, but they’ll have more difficultly getting convictions because it’s easier to create reasonable doubt,’ Kenney said.

DailyMail.com has reached out to the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, another powerful police union, for additional comment. 



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