Press Release: James Lane Says NY Mirrors Ferguson in Police Racial Discrimination - Justice Department Confirms What "We’ve known all along.” Calls it “Step Forward”

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2015

For More Information: James Lane 917-865-2591; VoteJamesLane@gmail.com

Michael O'Neil, Green Party of Brooklyn, 917-825-3562; michael@counterpower.org

BROOKLYN, NY–James Lane, Green Party candidate for Congress in the special election for New York’s 11th district, said today that the Justice Department’s finding that the police in Ferguson, Missouri routinely violated the constitutional rights of its black residents unfortunately would also apply to the situation in New York City.

The Justice Department civil rights investigation concluded that the Ferguson Police Department and the city's municipal court engaged in a "pattern and practice" of discrimination against African-Americans, targeting them disproportionately for traffic stops, excessive use of force, and jail sentences.

“The Justice Department’s report recognizes what we’ve known all along–racism and discrimination run throughout our justice system. It was blatantly obvious in the failure to deliver indictments regarding the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. That said, the official acknowledgement of corruption is a first step in winning justice. Now it’s time to solve this problem once and for all,” said Lane.

Like many New Yorkers, Lane and the Green Party were disturbed by the failure of Daniel M. Donovan Jr, the Staten Island District Attorney and Republican nominee for Congressional District 11, to secure an indictment against officer Daniel Pantaelo regarding the murder of Eric Garner.

Lane has been an active participant in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The Green Party has long advocated for the appointment of independent prosecutors in cases involving violence against residents by police officers.

According to a 2014 report by the NY Civil Liberties Union, blacks and Latinos accounted for more than 70 percent of stops across all precincts in 2013. Once stopped, they were more likely to be frisked than white New Yorkers–even though those frisked were less likely to be found with a weapon than white New Yorkers.

The NYCLU found that in 72 out of 77 precincts, black and Latino New Yorkers accounted for more than 50 percent of stops, and in 34 precincts they accounted for more than 90 percent of stops. In six of the 10 precincts with the lowest black and Latino populations (such as the 6th Precinct in Greenwich Village), blacks and Latinos accounted for more than 70 percent of stops.

Young black and Latino men were the targets of a hugely disproportionate number of stops. Though they account for only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 38.6 percent of stops in 2013. Nearly 90 percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent.

"We need to ensure that our police protect the well-being and safety of all residents, rather than extorting communities through fines and arrests to subsidize municipal budgets. The police are granted significant authority on our streets and so must be held to the highest standards of accountability. I reject policing techniques that target people, consciously or not, based on their color or economic status. I want a society where my son doesn't have to worry about dealing with the police due to his race," said Lane.

Lane said that the recent announcement by Mayor de Blasio asking for cops to comply with the 40 year old law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana was a step in the right direction. The Green Party advocates for the legalization of marijuana. However, City Police Commissioner William Bratton’s statement this week blaming marijuana for a spike in the city’s murder rate is a classic example of “reefer madness”-style drug war propaganda,

NYC is the marijuana arrest capital of the world, despite decriminalization forty years ago. Even though research shows that whites actually smoke marijuana at higher rates, the vast majority of those arrested were black or Latino.

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