DISCRETION AND VALOR
New Yorkers are returning to the streets for
protests and vigils marking the one-year anniversary
of the murder of George Floyd at the
hands of police officers in Minnesota.
In the weeks after that horrific event, New York
saw a wave of new legislation passed and signed into
law to better “police the police,” from outlawing the
use of chokeholds to making police officer disciplinary
records open to the public in the name of accountability.
With the first anniversary of Floyd’s murder approaching,
state Attorney General Letitia James
introduced on May 21 another reform measure: the
Police Accountability Act. If passed and signed into
law, it would redefine the state’s law protecting an officer’s
use of force.
The bill would reclassify police use of force against
an individual “from one of simple necessity to one of
absolute last resort,” according to James’ office. Officers
would be required, by law, to implement other
means first in subduing an individual, including verbal
warnings, de-escalation tactics and lower levels
of physical force.
Essentially, it clears the way for prosecutors across
the state to potentially prosecute an officer accused
of wrongfully assaulting or killing an individual. According
to James’ office, the current law permits the
lethal use of force by an officer based largely on the
officer’s reasonable belief that someone committed a
crime — and that often acts as a barrier preventing
prosecutors and grand juries from indicting an officer
But what exactly will this bill change?
NYPD officers are already trained to use other
tactics to de-escalate situations. We’ve written plenty
of stories of police shootings in which officers, while
guns drawn, directed an individual to drop their
weapon — only to fire when the suspect refused to do
so or even pulled the trigger.
Even more so, prosecutors and grand juries exercise
discretion when considering a case and the
law; they’re not required to indict anyone unless
there’s proof beyond reasonable doubt that a crime
We can’t accept a climate in which an officer is
permitted to get away with acting as judge, jury and
executioner — but we also can’t accept a climate in
which an officer winds up being restricted or unfairly
punished for using force when absolutely necessary.
It’s difficult to legislate discretion — which is
why lawmakers must be careful to allow prosecutors
to seek justice against officers who break the
law while simultaneously protecting good cops as
they enforce it.
HOW TO REACH US
TIMESLEDGER | Q 16 NS.COM | MAY 28-JUNE 3, 2021
SHORE BOULEVARD TROUBLE
Astoria Pool will open on June 26. Good news!
But not for everyone. Unfortunately, many
seniors will be denied enjoying this summertime
The steep stairs and steps at the main entrance to
the pool on 19th Street are too difficult for many seniors
to negotiate, down and up. So, for many years
pool, management has allowed seniors to enter the
pool at a rear gate on Shore Boulevard. Now, with the
closing of Shore Boulevard to cars, seniors will not be
able to park on Shore Boulevard.
The parking lot within the park is not viable as
there is a steep hill from the parking lot to the Shore
I know of one senior who recently suffered a serious
leg injury and will be unable to attend the pool
unless parking is available on Shore Boulevard. After
more than 50 years of enjoying Astoria Pool, she will
be shut out.
So many seniors will be unable to partake of the
senior swim program and other activities at the pool.
This is just another example of how our senior population
is becoming increasingly isolated from using
many venues as the city continues to close more and
more streets, eliminates parking spaces for bicycle
lanes and racks and allows restaurant kiosks to proliferate
in the streets.
I urge the Department of Transportation to reopen
Shore Boulevard to automobiles at least during the
PROUD MEMBER OF NEW YORK PRESS ASSOCIATION
V.P. OF ADVERTISING
Reporters: Bill Parry, Angelica
Acevedo, Carlotta Mohamed,
Jenna Bagcal, Jacob Kaye
Copy Editor: Katrina Medoff
ART & PRODUCTION
Art Director: Nirmal Singh
Layout: Zach Gewelb
Senior Account Executive:
MAIL: 38-15 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, NY 11361
PHONE: Display Advertising: (718) 260-4537
Editorial: (718) 260-4549
WEBSITE: Visit www.qns.com
E-MAIL: Editorial: email@example.com
Display Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO SUBSCRIBE: Call (718) 260-2515
Copyright©2019 Queens CNG LLC.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James introduced the Police Accountability Act. If passed and signed
into law, it would redefine the state’s law protecting an officer’s use of force. REUTERS fi le photo by Lucas Jackson