Report and recommendations of Task Force For Racial Injustice and Police Reform
Approved by the House of Delegates on June 12, 2021
NYSBA’s Task Force on Racial Injustice and Police Reform is hosting a three-part series of virtual public forums. The Task Force is soliciting comments and testimony from a diverse group of stakeholders and the general public for each of the forums. They will be held on the three separate dates listed below.
The mission of the Task Force is to examine the issues contributing to police brutality and to provide recommendations to policymakers, elected officials, members of law enforcement and the judiciary to end deleterious policing practices that disproportionately impact persons of color.
Please register for each of the virtual public forums using the respective link below:
Monday, December 7th
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Focus: With a “Perspective of Policing” theme, the panelists will discuss their perspective as members of law enforcement and the unique challenges they face during the conversations of racial injustice and police reform proposals. The objective is to solicit an open conversation from members of law enforcement of impacted communities and the institutions of policing.
Keynote: Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, Chief of Policy, Rochester, NY
Panelists: Sheriff Craig Apple Sr., Albany County; Ernest Hart, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters; Assistant Chief RubenBeltran, NYPD Patrol Borough Queens South
Moderator: T. Andrew Brown, NYSBA President-Elect, Vice Chancellor New York State Board of Regents; Taa R. Grays, NYSBA Secretary-Elect, Vice President & Associate General Counsel – Metlife
Wednesday, September 30th
Focus: With a “Process of Prosecution” theme, the second forum will focus on the ways in which those accused of a crime are worked through the judicial system. The panel is intended to include members of law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders and judges.
Keynote: Don Kamin, PhD, director, Institute for Police, Mental Health and Community Collaboration
Panelists: Lucy Lang, director, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Maritza Ming, chief of staff, Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office; Jose Perez, legal director, PRLDEF; Shannon Wong, director, Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union
Moderator: T. Andrew Brown, NYSBA President-Elect, Vice Chancellor New York State Board of Regents
Tuesday, September 22nd
Focus: The first forum will focus on Rochester in response to the death of Daniel Prude, a mentally ill Black man who died of suffocation in March after police officers placed his head in a “spit hood” and pressed his face into the pavement. The Rochester Police Department’s highest-ranking officers, including the chief, resigned or were demoted as a result of the incident, and the state attorney general is conducting an investigation into Mr. Prude’s death.
Keynote: Rev. Lewis Stewart, longtime civil rights activist in Rochester and president of the United Christian Leadership Ministry
Panelists: Rachel Barnhart, Monroe County Legislator; Kim Butler, chief of Clinical and Forensic Services, Monroe County Office of Mental Health; Adam Fryer, an activist from Geneva, NY; Frank Liberti, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Dispute Settlement in Rochester; Willie Lightfoot, Rochester City Councilmember; Mary Lupien, Rochester City Councilmember; Danielle Ponder, member of the Monroe County Commission on Racial and Structural Equity; Robert Brown, Esq., attorney, former captain with the NYPD
Moderators: T. Andrew Brown, NYSBA President-Elect, Vice Chancellor New York State Board of Regents; Liz Benjamin, Marathon Strategies
Task Force Mission Statement
The Task Force on Police Misconduct and Racial Injustice will engage a diverse group of stakeholders to understand the issues leading to police misconduct; to provide recommendations to policymakers, law enforcement and the judiciary; and to end these deleterious policing practices that disproportionately impact persons of color. Areas of possible reform include, but are not limited to:
1. the qualifications and training of law enforcement;
2. monitoring of law enforcement activities including the use of body cameras and other data-gathering techniques;
3. internal law enforcement department practices that discourage or stop the reporting of misconduct by other officers;
4. the role of the Civilian Complaint Review Board and other similar entities in the identification and investigation of law enforcement misconduct;
5. the prosecution of law enforcement misconduct cases.