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Commissioner Shea Apologizes & Acknowledges Systemic Racism in the NYPD. © Community Capacity Development

True Systemic Change Needs to Happen on a Radical Level Within the NYPD

CCD's response to Commissioner Shea's remarks

Published on March 05, 2021

Community Capacity Development is a groundbreaking 501©3 nonprofit organization whose demonstrated service methodology is saving lives and building communities. By operationalizing the evidence-based Human Justice Model, CCD is a co-architect of the “Crisis Management System” spearheading mediation interventions in New York City, and leading the violence interruption movement nationwide. On February 23rd, Commissioner Dermot Shea of the NYPD spoke at the Greater Harlem Chamber Event at City College of New York, addressing and apologizing on behalf of the NYPD the systemic racism and history:

“Police have always been an inexorable part of that story. Whether it was arresting runaway slaves or enforcing unjust Jim Crow law, this has been a stain on law enforcement’s history in America. We have to acknowledge this truth – and I do. And we must acknowledge the NYPD’s historical role in the mistreatment of communities of color.”

It is evident that this turning point is due in part to the Community Safety Act co-written by leaders at CCD. With the support of fellow New York City Council members and community stakeholder The Community Safety Act, despite a veto from former Mayor Bloomberg had historically:

  • prohibited unlawful searches due to Stop-and-Frisk
  • placed into law the end of discriminatory profiling on all levels
  • created the NYPD position of Inspector General

Almost 7 years later, and the fight for dismantling discrimination in the NYPD has reached a new milestone. This unprecedented and surprising statement directly contradicts “racist policing” in the NYPD Shea had repeatedly denied at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. As the largest, most militant law enforcement agency in the country, the NYPD has notoriously rejected to take ownership of its brutal past and present conduct.

“The venture towards accountability and acknowledgement is one of the hardest steps to take in healing intergenerational and communal trauma,” says Executive Director and Founder of CCD, K Bain. “And while vital in the process of reparations, true systemic change needs happen on a radical level within the NYPD. What we need is a real community-led partnership in public safety, characterized and achieved by communication, professional competence, respect, equity, advocacy and most of all, truth.”

Commissioner Shea’s speech, while necessary, is only the first step to raising police accountability and ending oppression, and still demands follow-through; unfulfilled promises for change are not unheard of for communities of color. This extraordinary milestone is nevertheless worth celebration and merely lights the fire that pushes organizations like CCD to continue to create tools to uproot systemic challenges.

Executive Editor