NYPD Responds: Cops Are Being Used As 'Political Football'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Members of an activist group circulated a petition at posts around the city Sunday — with the goal of ending what the group called “abusive practices” in the New York City Police Department.

The Police Reform Organizing Project of the Urban Justice Center was seeking at least another 5,000 signatures on its petition, after already collecting more than 20,000.

The goal, the group said, is “demonstrating to policy makers that a broad-based constituency of city residents are concerned about abusive police practices and are calling for meaningful change.”

“The petition calls on the city’s political leaders – the mayor, the speaker of the City Council – to enact sweeping reforms in Police Department practices, so to end stop-and-frisk, to abolish the quota system, and to create an outside independent monitor,” said Robert Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project.

Gangi told 1010 WINS’ the activists were also collecting personal stories of police injustice.

The group called current police practices “harsh” and “racially biased.”

“We urge New Yorkers to join our campaign to stop the NYPD’s harsh and unjust practices that do harm to the city’s residents, especially people from low income communities of color, on a daily basis,” Gangi added in a news release. “The city’s police should serve and protect people, rather than engage in stop-and-frisk and other tactics that harass and, in effect, criminalize them.”

The NYPD issued a response to the campaign, saying the group was using hardworking police officers to make a political statement.

“Police officers work hard to keep the city safe, often risking and sometimes losing their own lives in the process. Regrettably, they are also used as a political football, especially in an election year, as appears to be the case here,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in the statement.

The reform group set up posts with the petition Sunday at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village; 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem; Parkside and Flatbush avenues and the Utica Avenue A and C train station in Brooklyn; and Jamaica Center and the junction of Parsons and Archer avenues in Queens.

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