NEW YORK – Council Member Rory I. Lancman, chair of the Committee on the Justice System, today introduced legislation, Intro. 1324, to establish a task force to develop strategies to prevent white supremacist violence. The task force is charged with studying white supremacist organizations and acts of violence encouraged by these organizations, and making recommendations to the Mayor and the City Council for improving safety procedures.

Lancman’s call for a task force to combat white supremacist violence comes months after members of the “Proud Boys,” a hate group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, attacked individuals in Manhattan in full view of the police. No members of the “Proud Boys” were arrested that evening. Lancman believes that a task force is needed to ensure that the city’s key law enforcement stakeholders develop a comprehensive strategy for identifying white nationalist organizations and thwarting any attempts to cause violence in New York City.

“What prompted the bill is that the city seemed to be caught completely by surprise that the Proud Boys would instigate an assault on the streets of New York City,” said Council Member Lancman. “This scourge of white nationalist terrorism demands that the city is prepared with a comprehensive law enforcement strategy. It is my hope that the formation of this task force is the start of that.”

At a November Council hearing on preventing hate crimes, Lancman urged the city and the NYPD to take the rise in white nationalist violence seriously, and treat groups like the “Proud Boys” as domestic terrorist organizations. According to the NYPD, the total number of hate crimes in New York City last year increased by five percent, with “larger increases in attacks against black and Jewish people.”

The task force will be comprised of the following members: the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; the NYPD’s Chief of Crime Control Strategies; the NYPD’s Chief of Counterterrorism; the Commissioner of the Emergency Management Department; two members appointed by the Mayor and two members appointed by the Speaker of the City Council. Additionally, each of the City’s District Attorneys will be invited to participate in the task force.