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New Joint Leitner Clinic Report Provides Blueprint for Sweeping NYPD Reform

New York, NY (April 21, 2014) – A new report co-authored by the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic of the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice and the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) lays out a comprehensive plan for progressive reform of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Released today, Changing the NYPD: A Progressive Blueprint for Sweeping Reform seeks to address policing tactics that harm the City’s most vulnerable populations, including low-income African-Americans and Latinos, Muslims, sex workers, LGBTQ individuals, street vendors, people with mental illness, and the homeless.  

The report details short-term and readily implementable policy shifts, long-term institutional reforms, and changes to the NYPD’s agency culture.

Some recommendations include:

  • Street Vendors: Dismantle the NYPD’s Street Peddler’s Unit, and shift responsibility for supervising street vendors to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • People with Mental Illness: Establish a program of Community Crisis Intervention Teams (CCITs).
  • Homeless People: Eliminate, as the basis for making arrests, “quality of life” offenses like disorderly conduct and loitering that unfairly target homeless people.
  • Abolish the Quota System: Abolish the illegal, aggressively enforced quota system for evaluating the job performance of police officers on the ground.
  • Improve Community/Police Relations: Involve the community in crime prevention by implementing practical community policing programs, such as Boston’s ‘Operation Ceasefire’ and New Orlean’s ‘NOLA for Life’ that studies have shown to be successful. Credible research has provided much evidence that such approaches, featuring heavy participation of community members, are highly effective in establishing stable neighborhoods and combating crime.
  • LGBT Communities: Follow and update NYPD patrol guidelines specifying better treatment of LGBT communities and create a more robust NYPD LGBT Liaison Office. End law enforcement violence and harassment against LGBT and HIV-affected people.
  • Free Speech: Demonstrate greater flexibility in facilitating protests around the city by issuing more permits in a timely manner and increasing the number of venues available. Limit the use of coercive policing techniques such as protest pens and grant demonstrators free access to public spaces.

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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10023 USA

Email: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu
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Tracy Higgins
Professor of Law
Co-Director, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
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