Good afternoon, my name is Carmen Dixon, I am a Community Organizer at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund for its Policing Reform Campaign. In early 2015, LDF along with Legal Aid Society settled our federal class action lawsuit, Davis v. City of New York, challenging trespass stops and arrests in NYCHA buildings. For the past year we have been a part of the court mandated monitoring process in Floyd v. City of New York, as well as the Joint Remedial Process. As we move forward with the Joint Remedial Process, LDF community organizers are excited to partner with local community organizations for the Policing in Public Housing Community Forum, November 17th, 6pm at the Brooklyn YWCA. This forum will provide an opportunity for public housing residents to offer recommendations and direction on policing in public housing. As we have stated in the past, public housing residents and guests should not have to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to live in a safe and secure neighborhood. Like anyone, public housing residents want their homes to be safe and free of crime. Police practices of questioning, stopping, or arresting public housing residents and their guests without sufficient basis is essentially treating them like criminals in their own homes or the homes of their loved ones.
We expect to hear directly from public housing residents on the current state of trespass arrests since the settlement. Equally as important will be the policing reform recommendations provided by the population directly impacted by these policies that we believe should be central to any conversation on reform.
We recognize without substantial reform, residents and guests will continue to suffer the indignities of being searched, handcuffed, fingerprinted and detained for simply being on public housing grounds.
Police officers play an important role in maintaining the safety and security of public housing residents, but it is imperative that they perform their duties in partnership with the community in a manner that respects their rights. We are excited about the citywide policing forums and look forward to contributing to a safer public housing community.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and 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. 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 NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.