Nys Senator Eric Adams, Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel, Marquez Claxton (co-founder, 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement),

Eric Adams

April 27, 2008

New York State Senator Eric Adams (D, Brooklyn) joins civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and leaders of African American and Latino police organizations to announce legislation to establish a state investigator’s office to conduct the examination into any incident in which a citizen is seriously injured or killed by a police officer and a state prosecutor’s office to prosecute resulting cases.  These two offices will also gather evidence for and litigate cases involving accusations of corruption in law enforcement.

Senator Adams states: “At a time when statistics indicate a reduction in the crime rate, allegations of insensitivity, misconduct, or abuse by police officers persist. Trust is essential to effective policing, and if residents believe police are unfair or use excessive force, the relationship between the community and law enforcement becomes untenable.  One way to increase the confidence that is essential to a positive working association is to provide mechanisms for inquiry and adjudication that are above reproach.  Local police agencies should not participate in gathering evidence at crime scenes involving police shootings that result in serious injury or death.  Impartial investigators from a special state office should conduct the inquiries in this type of case, and all compiled information should be assessed and pursued by an impartial state prosecutor.”

Senator Adams further states: “The majority of law enforcement officers are diligent public servants who carry out a hazardous assignment appropriately, impartially, equitably, and honorably, and do so with distinction and merit. They risk their lives on a daily basis in the interests of public safety and civil justice, motivated in large degree by a genuine concern for the citizenry they serve.  It is undeniable that we should be proud of the achievements of these men and women.  Nevertheless, increasing dissatisfaction among some community groups with the performance of agents of law enforcement and a perception in some constituencies that misconduct, insensitivity, abuse, and excessive force stem from bias and disrespect make it imperative that we enact measures to restore trust between law enforcement and the public. 
Calamitous occurrences, such as the Abner Louima abuse and the shooting deaths of Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell, and quotidian irritants, such as perceived racial profiling or excessive aggression, are not exclusively civil rights issues.  They are public safety issues, too, impacting upon the willingness of individuals to interact productively with their law enforcement officers and the consequent ability of those officers to accomplish essential assignments.  I will introduce legislation in the New York State Senate, therefore, establishing two special state offices, one to investigate incidents involving police use of force that result in serious injury or death and to explore any allegations of corruption or malfeasance and a second to litigate all cases consequent to the evidence gathered in the aforementioned investigations.