CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Cop Watching to End Broken Windows


Ordinary people with cameras are on the front lines of documenting the NYPD's harassment and violence against communities of color and marginalized peoples in low-income neighborhoods. El Grito has been cop watching for three decades, keeping people safe and providing valuable evidence in court trials. Although cop watchers capture only a tiny portion of the abuse we experience every day of our lives, increasingly video is becoming a vital legal tool in holding cops accountable, as well as raising public awareness of the systemic bias and corruption in the NYPD that "Broken Windows" justifies. The media and government leaders excuse police abuse as "bad apples," one-off incidences, or necessary force in the heat of the moment. By building a body of video evidence, we are countering the entrenched narrative that the police are a public service that treats everyone fairly and equally. El Grito conducts regular surveillance of police behavior in Sunset Park and coordinates trainings of citizens to learn the rules, best practices, and safety precautions when video taping police interactions on the streets and in our homes.


Below is the latest evidence of cops attacking a high school student. This prejudicial, zero-tolerance, aggressive policing must end.


On June 30th, we hosted a Town Hall at the Sunset Recreation Center for the community to ask local politicians how they plan to end Broken Windows policing.  The aggressive policing of non-violent, low-level, quality-of-life offenses (known as the "Broken Windows" theory ) has criminalized communities of color for decades. NYPD arrests and summonses target poor New Yorkers of color like street vendors, subway performers, young people, homeless people, LGBTQ and immigrants – who are put at risk of deportation. Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and Public Advocate Letitia James were on the hot seat, as neighbors demanded direct answers and specific policy solutions to the chronic police abuse under these politicians' watch.  

The Town Hall was the latest in a series of community forums across New York City co-sponsored by the Coalition to End Broken Windows.

Broken Windows Town Hall

El Grito coordinates public forums, speak outs, advocacy campaigns, cop watch training, and educational programs that engages the community to address social, civil rights, and public policy concerns. We help find solutions to long-standing socio-economic problems.

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