Brooklyn Councilman Says City Schools are Over-policed, Calls on NYPD to Back Off
A Councilman joins dozens of students — asking the NYPD to reduce its presence in city schools. Our Gene Apodaca reports.
Dozens of students stood on the steps of City Hall saying there is too much policing in their schools.
Isaiah Quinones says he was unfairly detained after participating in a peaceful rally. He didn't want to name the school.
"I was taken aside and held in a school safety office waiting for the arrival of an outside officer who gave me a summons for disorderly conduct," said Quinones.
It's stories like this that prompted city council member Antonio Reynoso of Brooklyn to help organize Tuesday's gathering.
He cited a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union that claims more than a thousand students were arrested for non-criminal violations and misdemeanors in the first half of 2016.
"We have metal detector we have wands we have more police officers than anywhere else so where ever you have to over police naturally you have the most incidents," said City Councilman Antonio Reynoso.
The civil liberties union report claims that black and Hispanic students are arrested in disproportionate numbers.
About 90 percent of the students charged with noncriminal violations and misdemeanors were black or Hispanic.
But according to department of education numbers, blacks and Hispanics make up just under 68 percent of the student population.
Organizers worry as students become more apt to speak out on issues in the current political climate. Their voices could be silenced.
"It showed me that I wasn’t able to speak up or express myself in a certain way along with my peers with things that we should be allowed to do," said one.
In a statement, the Education Department did not address the issue of racial disparity, or complaints there is too much policing in the schools.
The department said: "Safety always comes first and there has been a significant decline in school-based crime, arrests and summonses. In partnership with the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, we are continuing to expand critical school justice initiatives to support students and families."
The NYPD did not immediately comment.