Ending the Gang Database in New York City

Posted May 24, 2018 by Vidal Guzman

Vidal Guzman — #CLOSErikers organizer at JustLeadershipUSA and Harlem’s own — breaks down the trauma of gang raids, the lasting impact on communities, and why the NYPD gang database must be destroyed.

The #CLOSErikers Campaign, with its grassroots partners, continues to call on Mayor de Blasio to reduce the jail population and shutter the horrific jail complex on Rikers Island. Toward that end, communities have demanded that the Mayor end the criminalization of Black people, communities of color, immigrants, and marginalized neighborhoods that feed New York City’s jail crisis and the jails on Rikers. Mayor de Blasio must end mass criminalization, end broken windows policing, and dismantle the gang database.

For New York City, ending the gang database is simply a matter of political will, as cities such as Portland, OR have proven. This secret list is unaccountable and is used as a prime tool for racial profiling. People on the database are subjected to additional biases during the pretrial and trail processes as it can be used during plea bargaining, in bail negotiations, in trials, and even to subject people to longer sentences. It cannot be allowed to continue. 

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