After seven years of failed leadership, the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent spectacle of police brutality have revealed Mayor de Blasio to be the single greatest obstacle to peace and justice in New York City.
He must resign, or the Council must remove him from office, if we are to create a fair and just people’s budget that defunds the NYPD and joins a national movement to re-imagine public safety — not as punishment through police and prisons, but as community investment, starting with a pandemic recovery plan for all New Yorkers.
Mayor de Blasio’s failure to work with the City Council on a budget that ensures a just and equitable recovery, and his failure to truly hold the police accountable for its brutal response to New Yorkers protesting police brutality, underscore his unfitness for office, and thousands of New Yorkers have taken to the streets to voice their displeasure by calling on Mayor de Blasio to resign.
It is my duty as a member of the City Council to demand accountability, and to call on my colleagues to debate a resolution calling on the Governor to remove Mayor de Blasio from office.
The grievances of the people are simple. Mayor de Blasio’s response to the pandemic and police brutality contradict the most essential functions of a Mayor, which are to provide for the safety, promote the general welfare, and protect the rights of every New Yorker:
- By failing to negotiate in good faith with the City Council, Mayor de Blasio has undermined the general welfare by depriving New Yorkers a reviewable budget less than 14 days until the budget deadline during the worst pandemic in a century.
- By failing to remove police officers from duty who attacked, arrested, or used excessive force against peaceful protesters, Mayor de Blasio has failed to provide for the public’s safety and undermined their constitutional right to peaceably assemble.
- By allowing the police to arrest individuals longer than 24 hours and preventing lawyers from providing timely legal counsel, Mayor de Blasio undermined the public’s right to due process.
- By failing to remove police officers from duty who attacked, arrested, or used excessive force against members of the press, Mayor de Blasio has failed to provide for the public’s safety and undermined the public’s constitutional right to a free press.
- By failing to force police officers to comply with laws that allow the public to identify police officers through their badge numbers, Mayor de Blasio undermined the public’s trust and right to identify police officers.
- By failing to disclose or even acknowledge that federal immigration enforcement agents were assisting the police, Mayor de Blasio undermined the public’s trust and endangered the safety of immigrant New Yorkers.
This is a critical moment for our city. We cannot allow our most vulnerable communities to continue suffering. For even if Black, brown, Latinx, and immigrant New Yorkers survive COVID-19, they could still die at the hands of a militarized and unaccountable carceral system.
We need a fair and just people’s budget that takes care of everyone. That prioritizes people over a militarized police force. That checks a Mayor when he fails to uphold his democratic mandate and refuses to cooperate with the people’s government, the City Council.
To get there, New Yorkers know what it will take. We must defund the NYPD, reinvest that money back into our communities, and remove obstacles to peace and justice. Right now, that is Mayor de Blasio. He must go.