LDF Condemns Governor Hochul’s Plan to Deploy National Guard, State Police into NYC Transit System

Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced a five-point plan that includes deploying 1,000 members of the U.S. National Guard and New York State police throughout New York City’s transit system. Hochul’s plan includes legislation that would expand judges’ authority to ban people from the transit system upon certain kinds of convictions, allow prosecutors to track repeat offenders with these convictions, add surveillance cameras to control booths, and expand co-response teams consisting of mental health practitioners and law enforcement.

In response to this, Legal Defense Fund (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Janai Nelson:

“Having already suffered from Mayor Adams’ failed policies of flooding New York City’s transit system with more law enforcement officers, New Yorkers are now faced with Governor Hochul’s dangerous plan to bring in the U.S. National Guard and New York State police. This much is clear, Hochul’s plan mistakes a heavily armed military and police presence for safety, and it further emboldens these officers to harass and surveil New Yorkers at length through bag checks and interactions that are eerily reminiscent of the Stop-and-Frisk tactics in New York that have been ruled unconstitutional and deeply harmed Black and Brown New Yorkers for decades.

“Narratives about increases in crime must be fact-checked and effective public safety strategies require addressing the root causes of violence such as economic insecurity and, in some instances, lack of access to mental health services. Research by our Thurgood Marshall Institute has found that increases in crime correlate to social and economic instability.

“The root causes of violence cannot be remedied by increased law enforcement, invasive surveillance, and punitive legislation. New Yorkers need solutions that are serious about safety—not a cosmetic show of force. We urge Governor Hochul to reconsider this harmful plan and, instead, invest in strategies and services that will improve the economic security and promote the health and stability of New Yorkers.”


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.