BROOKLYN, NY — Today, Council Member Farah N. Louis (D-Brooklyn) issued the following statement after Officer Francisco Garcia used excessive force against 33-year-old Donni Wright during NYPD enforcement of the social distancing mandate at the intersection of 9th St. and Avenue D in Manhattan on Saturday. Wright had a taser pointed at him; was slapped, punched, dragged, before Officer Garcia kneeled on his hand; and ultimately handcuffed by another officer.

STATEMENT BY LOUIS

“A tale of two cities has never been more prevalent at a time when America’s biggest city and the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic should be united. As we cope with our new reality, black and brown communities have been outspoken and outraged by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and our City’s response to this pandemic. 

“While white New Yorkers gathered en masse this weekend in Hudson River Park could be issued a summons or even a mask, a black bystander near a deli was assaulted. It is unacceptable for NYPD officers to enforce the rules, however they deem fit, in different zip codes. All New Yorkers deserve courtesy, respect, professionalism when interacting with officers sworn to protect and serve. 

“The social distancing rules apply to all New York City residents without exemption but recent incidents of noncompliance and inconsistent NYPD enforcement have proven otherwise. This is a dangerous precedent that further strains community-police relations in black and brown communities who for generations have been beaten, brutalized, and villainized because of their skin color. We cannot continue to bear the mental, emotional, and physical scars inflicted by NYPD officers who demonstrate a blatant disregard for their own internal protocols.

“Racial bias has no place in community policing, yet communities of color have received more summonses and are victims of excessive use of force by the NYPD. The answer to aiding and monitoring public adherence to social distance policies is not more enforcement, but rather a standardized approach and merely just communicating the policy to keep all New Yorkers safe. 

“I am calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to hold ALL officers involved in egregious and inhumane treatment of Donni Wright accountable and assure that our communities will be treated fairly.” 

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