As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr., we are reminded once more that
we have miles to go to fulfill his dream of equality
That reminder came in the form of a lawsuit that
New York state Attorney General Letitia James filed
against New York City and the NYPD over police brutality
that occurred during last summer’s George Floyd/
Black Lives Matter protests.
In her extensive case, James outlined that too many
of the officers on patrol during the demonstrations simply
went too far — from bashing people with batons, to
pepper-spraying individuals without provocation, to
“kettling” marchers on the street, sealing them in a perimeter
and leading to standoffs.
In a much more damning light, many officers
seemed to target individuals based on the color of their
skin. One Black protester, Andrew Smith, said an officer
walked past several white marchers, pulled down
his mask and doused his face with pepper spray, though
Smith said he did nothing to provoke such a reaction.
As news of the lawsuit hit, Mayor Bill de Blasio and
the NYPD came out in defense of their actions. Additionally,
they endorsed recommendations previously
made following probes by James’ office in the summer,
and the city’s Department of Investigation last month.
They repeated once more a commitment to reforming
policing, but argued that the lawsuit James filed
won’t bring about reform any faster.
For years, we’ve heard promise after promise of corrective
measures at the NYPD to end police brutality
and racial injustice — yet both problems persist today.
It took a federal court order for the NYPD to finally
stop employing “stop-and-frisk” tactics. That also
brought about the renewed approach to community policing
which kept crime down while improving policecommunity
Under James’ reasoning, it might take another federal
court order to finally get the NYPD to change its
protest response tactics. But why let it get to that point?
The NYPD should work in concert with James’ office
to settle the case and implement the reforms needed
to keep future protests orderly, and all protesters and
police officers safe.
It’s not an impossible objective to achieve, provided
we work in cooperation with one another — and remind
ourselves, as Dr. King said, that “The arc of the moral
universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
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TIMESLEDGER | Q 12 NS.COM | JAN. 22-JAN. 28, 2021
WE NEED MORE OF THE VACCINE NOW!
As reported, the cases of
COVID-19 infection rate
continues to rise in New
York, but in New York
City alone, there is only one more
week of vaccinations available.
Places like the Brooklyn
Army Terminal have shut down
due to lack of vaccine. Additionally,
Mount Sinai has canceled
appointments and NYU Langone
Health stopped scheduling new
appointments. I find this development
My wife Eva is 67 years old and
I am 71. We both need the vaccine,
as do most people our age. The
government needs to do more to
get the COVID-19 vaccine to the
American people to help stop the
spread of the deadly disease.
Soon-to-be President Joe Biden
has already promised to deliver
more vaccinations. I truly hope
he succeeds. Until then, my wife
and myself are practicing good
health habits like wearing face
masks, getting tested, frequent
hand washing and using hand
sanitizer, and staying six feet
apart when in stores. We are also
taking more Vitamin D supplements.
But that doesn’t change the
fact that we all need the vaccine,
and we need it now!
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
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New York state Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against New York City and the NYPD over police
brutality that occurred during last summer’s George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests. Photo by Dean Moses