Over the past week, hundreds of peaceful protesters in New York City have been violently attacked by law enforcement and denied their constitutional rights as they demonstrated in the name of racial justice.
Yesterday, a New York County Supreme Court judge denied an emergency petition for a writ of habeas corpus for arrested protesters, allowing New Yorkers to be locked up for more than 24 hours without being formally charged with a crime..
Senator Brad Hoylman, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in response:
“Over the last eight days, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have taken to the streets to declare that Black lives matter. The calls for racial justice and police reform are getting louder and the protests continue to grow in size. Our city’s response has been nothing short of a disaster.
“Protesters are being locked up for more than 24 hours without being charged, violating their constitutional rights to due process and against unreasonable seizure. They are being shoved into crowded cells, putting their health at risk in the midst of a pandemic. And they are being treated with aggression and violence simply for using their First Amendment right to gather and protest.
“As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’m extremely disappointed in Judge Burke’s decision not to release New Yorkers who have been detained for more than 24 hours—especially considering the major risk this poses during a pandemic. I urge the Office of Court Administration to do everything in its power to expedite arraignment proceedings, and I encourage all five District Attorneys in New York City to drop all criminal charges against those arrested for engaging in peaceful protest, including all charges against those arrested simply for breaking curfew.
“This is a time for us as elected officials to listen to our constituents as they cry out for justice. Instead, it appears the City’s leadership is trying to muzzle them. The curfew is being abused as cover for violent violations of New Yorkers’ rights. It must end tonight.”
For more information regarding Senator Brad Hoylman click here.