Council Member Williams Outraged by Shooting of Unarmed Black Man, Akai Gurley, in East New York
- New York 11/22/2014 by Jumaane Williams (Council of City of New York)
"First and foremost, my prayers for peace and comfort go out to Akai Gurley's family, friends and girlfriend who witnessed this debauchery unfold. I waited all day for the full story, hoping for an explanation that never came. Words cannot describe how appalled I am that another unarmed person of more color is dead at the hands of those entrusted to protect us.
"A 'dimly lit' staircase leading to an 'accident' exemplifies all that is wrong with our public safety system: a systemic problem within the department's culture, poor police-community relations in Black and Brown neighborhoods and an overly zealous ethos for excessive force. Why were two probationary officers put on Patrol in a 'high crime' area with no veteran officer to assist? Why was the officer's gun drawn with no safety before entering a vertical patrol? And most importantly, why is another unarmed Black man dead at the hands of a police officer?
"We must 'connect the dots' with Eric Garner and the multitude of incidents, many of which have been captured on video of late. These incidents pattern a systemic problem that has yet to be addressed almost a year into this new Administration. There must be full accountability for the officer; the same as any person who has killed someone. We must see real and clear policy changes take effect immediately to change how NYPD operates on the ground. If this doesn't or can't happen, then the Administration we elected to handle these issues will not have differentiated itself from the ones prior, and the progress we thought we were making was clearly not enough."