Family of men killed by police call on city to deduct $1 billion from NYPD budget
Three local families who lost a family member in police-involved incidents are calling on the city to take $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget and put it into community services.
Between 2012 and 2018, police-involved incidents claimed the lives of Ramarley Graham, Akai Gurley and Saheed Vassell - three Black men.
Hertencia Peterson’s nephew, Gurley, was killed when police were patrolling stairwells in the Pink Houses and an officer fired his weapon. Peterson said reinvesting means building up communities.
The family of Vassell want to see more done within social services--particularly mental health. Their son suffered from bipolar disorder and was killed after police received 911 calls that he was pointing a gun at people. It turned out it was only a pipe resembling a firearm.
Constance Malcolm joined the families in calling to defund the NYPD after she lost her son, Ramarley Graham. An officer fired at Graham believing he had a gun although one was never recovered. Malcolm says police don’t understand the people they serve.
“They don't live in our community, they don't know the people that live in the community. So they come in and they already have that mindset that they're coming to deal with criminals so they don't get to know other people in the neighborhood,” said Malcolm.
The families say the way forward is to invest in underserved communities and bring social workers who understand the issues these people face to avoid more people losing their lives.