Van Bramer Comments on COVID, Institutional Racism
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) in his e-newsletter addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprisings in response to George Floyd’s murder.
“We must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing to the maximum extent possible, even while engaged in protest and civil disobedience. And we must all find a way to engage this moment, join Black Lives Matter actions, engage in antiracism work, and for me as a legislator, that means passing laws and budgets that ban NYPD officers from using chokeholds, supporting repeal of 50-A, a law that shields officers records of abuse, and committing to passing a budget that dramatically reduces the NYPD’s budget and making sure funding for services that benefit communities of color are protected. There is so much more to say and do. Structural and institutional racism pervades our world. It is everywhere. And it must change now,” said Van Bramer.
“I also must say that Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Shea’s comments in response to police violence; an NYPD cruiser ramming into a crowd, a young woman thrown to the ground like a rag doll by an officer, and in Queens an officer ripping the mask off a young black man’s face while he had his arms up just so he could pepper spray him were disgraceful.
I do not condone violence of any kind, but those of us who are bestowed privileges because we are born white must not react defensively to this moment. Responses like “All Lives Matter” diminish the truth that this country simply does not value the lives of black people as we do people who look like me. That we must listen more, center the voices of black folks and become a part of the movement for change.
“Pain and anger is palpable right now. You can see it on the faces of George Floyd’s family. You can see it in the faces of young people peacefully protesting all over the country. But we cant turn away from the pain, or just wish the anger away. Instead, we should acknowledge our country’s history of oppression and force through changes that can begin to dismantle systemic racism and create the just society that must become a reality,” he added.
Katz Charges Queens Man with Attempted Murder fr Shooting at Police Officers
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced yesterday that a 21-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder in the first degree and other crimes for allegedly firing at cops who sat in a patrol car in Far Rockaway Sunday night.
The officers heard the shots just before the marked vehicle was jolted by bullets that ripped into the side and rear panel of the car.
Kane Motta, 21, from Arverne, was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Mary Berjarano on a complaint charging him with multiple counts of attempted murder in the first degree, attempted assault in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and assault in the second degree.
Berjarano remanded Motta and set his return date for July 2, 2020. If convicted, the defendant faces between 20 years to life and a maximum of 40 years to life in prison.
According to the charges, shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2020, Police Officers Fawad Khan and Mark Beneducci sat in a marked patrol car in front of 531 Beach 66th Street in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. The patrol car was parked and with its lights flashing when both Officers heard a loud popping sound and felt the vehicle rock suddenly. When they exited the car, the vehicle had bullet holes on the driver’s side at the rear of the car’s storage area and the tailgate.
“Thankfully neither of these officers was struck by the bullets that were fired at them. While we are living through very tumultuous times with demonstrators clashing with police in the streets, this incident was not a protest. This was a targeted attack on our law enforcement as they watched over a neighborhood on a quiet night in Queens. This vile act of gun violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The defendant has been apprehended and will be prosecuted,” said Katz.
Gillibrand Condemns Trump’s Threat to Use Military
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) joined Senate Democrats in condemning the Trump administration’s threat to use military units meant for combat to protect Trump’s political interests.
“Rather than listen or acknowledge the legitimate pain of protesters and the black community, President Trump has sought to divide us further, eagerly inflaming tensions and sowing anger and fear,” said Gillibrand. “His continued threats to use violence against peaceful protesters and deploy our military to states is outrageous and deeply troubling. The Department of Defense must immediately answer whether the Department would deploy federal troops outside of the use of the Insurrection Act and I demand that combat units are not used to impede on Americans’ civil liberties in the fight for racial justice.”
Amidst nationwide protests calling for justice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, President Trump has threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act to suppress peaceful protests.
In a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Gillibrand and her colleagues expressed deep concerns over the use of the military to restrict Americans’ First Amendment rights.