August 14, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS VICTORY: Stop and Frisk dealt unprecedented blow

For more than a year, thousands of ColorOfChange members and our partners at Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) have demanded an end to the discriminatory Stop and Frisk policing tactic which targets Black and brown New Yorkers and subjects them to suspicion-less stops. As a result, our partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a class action lawsuit arguing that the policing tactic violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers.

Last week, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who presided over the two-month Floyd v. City of New York trial, ruled that Stop and Frisk as implemented by the NYPD violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers. In her 195-page decision, Judge Scheindlin noted that officers routinely disregarded the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by subjecting New Yorkers to searches without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

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July 31, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS NEWS: Mayor Bloomberg vetoes anti Stop and Frisk bills

After thousands of ColorOfChange members and our partners at the Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) demanded an end to the NYPD's discriminatory and unlawful Stop and Frisk policing tactics, a veto-proof majority of the City Council passed two out of the four bills included in the Community Safety Act (CSA). The CSA would finally begin to address the deeply discriminatory policing tactics employed by the NYPD. One of the bills establishes long overdue protections for New Yorkers against discriminatory and racial profiling. The other bill creates an inspector general, an official with broad and independent authority to review Police Department policies, procedures and tactics.

Last week, as predicted Mayor Bloomberg vetoed both bills, claiming the bills are "dangerous and irresponsible" and "would make New Yorkers less safe."

While the bill is necessary, legislative intervention can only go so far in reshaping the deeply racist, brutal culture of the NYPD. That's why working closely with community-based partners, we’ve launched copwatchnyc.org, a mobile-friendly website that empowers New Yorkers to safely and lawfully observe, record and report police officers engaged in abusive or unprofessional behavior, misconduct or discrimination. Join Cop Watch NYC today to build community power and help us hold the police accountable.

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July 23, 2013 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Bronx D.A. seeks new indictment in Ramarley Graham case

Ramarley Graham was only 18-years-old when NYPD Officer Richard Haste unlawfully broke down the door of his family’s home and shot and killed him in his bathroom without cause, February of last year. Haste was indicted on two counts of manslaughter but the charges were outrageously dropped last month when a federal judge cited a procedural error. Ramarley's family and community supporters refused to accept the decision that would have allowed Haste to get off scott-free and demanded Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson reconvene a grand jury.

Now, in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin, the District Attorney's office has responded to strong community pleas for justice and convened a new grand jury that will decide to either re-indict Haste or let him walk free. ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson responded by commenting on the links between Ramarley's case and national efforts demanding accountability for affronts to the value of Black life:

"Whether it's Stand Your Ground or Stop and Frisk, we will continue to demand an end to racial profiling and policies that jeopardize the safety of young Black men like Trayvon Martin and Ramarely Graham...ColorOfChange members remain deeply committed to seeking justice for Trayvon and Ramarley. We will not be satisfied until George Zimmerman and Ramarley's killer — NYPD Officer Richard Haste – are both held accountable and until there's an end to racial profiling and the violence it creates."
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July 08, 2013 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Fruitvale Station and the value of young Black lives

This Friday (July 12), Sundance winner Fruitvale Station will open in select theaters around the country prior to its nationwide release on July 26. The film explores the life and murder of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, a young Black man who was fatally shot on a train platform by Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009. The shooting was recorded by several bystanders and ignited massive public protest demanding Mehserle be held accountable.

The film has been widely received as a humanizing and unabridged depiction of Oscar’s story. In the clip above — exclusive to ColorOfChange — actor Michael B. Jordan, who plays Oscar, reflects on how this role prompted him to consider his responsibility to live compassionately.

To see Fruitvale Station in your neighborhood, find available showtimes here. If you haven’t already, pledge to monitor the media during the George Zimmerman trial as we demand higher standards from the media for its portrayal of young Black men.

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July 04, 2013 / BY KIM LEHMKUHL #RestoreThe4th: Stand up against government surveillance and profiling

On this Fourth of July, we want to take a moment to reflect on why our constitutional protection against unreasonable searches is so critically important — to our physical safety as well as to our basic ability to communicate freely and organize for change.

There's good reason that governmental privacy intrusions like warrantless wiretapping, and now massive, indiscriminate data collection, are prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. Those who trust the secret authority of the rubber-stamping FISA court, and of surveillance agencies operating without any real accountability, don’t know or are discounting our history.

Profiling — whether based on race, religion or our communication activity — doesn't make us safer, and it violates our fundamental rights. ColorOfChange is participating in today's online protest against the NSA's unconstitutional domestic surveillance dragnet by displaying the text of the Fourth Amendment on our homepage. You can follow live updates of protests happening across the United States (and around the world) by using the #restorethe4th hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

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June 17, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS New York's Senate must end unfair treatment under drug laws

Last week in an op-ed for the Albany Times Union, ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson called on New York's Senate to eliminate the legal loophole incentivizing the NYPD's aggressive use of Stop and Frisk, which results in thousands of racially-targeted marijuana arrests each year. Although Blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, Black New Yorkers are 4.5 times more likely than whites to face criminal charges for marijuana possession.

Rashad notes that inaction on reform by the all-white Senate leadership coalition speaks volumes about these Senators' comfort with governing Black and brown New York differently than white communities. To date, over 9,000 ColorOfChange members have joined our campaign to end discriminatory marijuana arrests. If you live in New York, please take a moment to call the Senate leadership to help keep the pressure on to reform this racially biased, costly law before the legislature concludes its session June 20th.

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June 12, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS Join Cop Watch NYC: Help your community stop police misconduct

Discriminatory and abusive policing tactics deployed by the NYPD have become a national scandal. Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, police have logged more than 5 million street stops of mostly Black and Latino residents, very few of whom are ever charged with actual wrongdoing. Our community members are being targeted by the NYPD largely based on the color of our skin. And some of these unjust stops escalate to violence and injuries, or — in some tragic instances — death.

Each of us can do our part to deter police misconduct and violence across the five boroughs. That's why ColorOfChange and our community partners have launched Cop Watch NYC — an innovative new tool that makes it easier to track and publicize police encounters in our neighborhoods. If enough New Yorkers routinely exercise our right to film the police, officers will think twice before engaging in discriminatory and abusive tactics.

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March 16, 2013 / BY LYLA BUGARA Join us on first day of Stop and Frisk Trial

Only a week after the New York Police Department lodged their 5 millionth stop and frisk, a monumental class-action lawsuit against the NYPD's official Stop and Frisk program will be heard in Federal Court. For months, ColorOfChange members have demanded an end to the discriminatory policing tactic, which targets Black and Brown youth and subjects them to deeply humiliating, and unwarranted stops.

Starting next Monday, the people of New York will have their day in court. The Stop and Frisk class-action suit, Floyd V. City of New York, is brought by our partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights and argues that the program violates the constitution through racial profiling and suspicion-less stops. Now, the millions of New Yorker's impacted by Stop and Frisk will see their unjust experiences directly challenged and the NYPD will finally have to account for it's racially-biased policing tactics.

On this historic day, we need you there to support and ensure that we are heard. Join ColorOfChange and our partners in packing the courtroom and RSVP to let us know you are coming!

WHEN: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

WHERE: U.S. District Court, Southern District of NY, 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 15C, New York, NY 10007

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February 18, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS NEWS: Bloomberg talks racially-biased marijuana arrests during State of the City address

In his final State of the City address last Thursday, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that beginning in March, most people arrested in NYC for possessing small amounts of marijuana will be released and ordered to return to court, rather than being held overnight. That's good news for the more than 600,000 mostly Black and Brown people that have been arrested for marijuana possession during the last 15 years in New York City. Bloomberg also indicated support for Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed law to make small possessions of marijuana a violation rather than a misdemeanor.

The Mayor was right to institute this stop-gap measure, but it shouldn't distract from the real remedy to racially-biased marijuana currently waiting for a vote in the State Legislature. ColorOfChange members and our allies have been fighting for a deeper resolution. Please join us in calling on New York state legislators to end discriminatory and illegal marijuana arrests.

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February 07, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS Stop and Frisk may spread to other cities

Former New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, has been one of the most ardent proponents of the NY Police Department's discriminatory Stop and Frisk program. Now Bratton wants to spread Stop and Frisk to other cities. Last week, Bratton was overwhelmingly approved by the Oakland City Council to serve as a consultant to the Oakland Police Department. Previously, Mayor Jean Quan proposed hiring him to help enhance the city's public safety plan. Bratton has already hinted that the revised safety plan may include the discriminatory Stop and Frisk policing tactic.  

Bratton's approval in Oakland is a clear example of how the tactics and training of the NYPD can have serious consequences for the rest of the country. Check out this short video from the Oakland City Council meeting and then join us in demanding Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly end the discriminatory program in New York City. 

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