Long Island Advocates for Police Accountability (LIAFPA) and its allies formed a caravan in their cars to the Nassau County Supreme Court on October 11 to demand that County Executive Laura Curran take action on police reform. This caravan took place in lieu of a traditional march to abide by social distancing guidelines.
On June 12, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order # 203, requiring each local government in the state to adopt a policing reform plan as a condition of receiving state aid. The ensuing guidelines provide a four-phase timeline to help each local government meet this deadline. Phase I of the guidelines expired on September 30 and had required Nassau County to (1) convene local stakeholders; (2) gather data and evaluate policing policies; (3) share data and evaluations with the public so that (4) the data and evaluation can inform the formulation of the plan.
Currently, Nassau County has failed to meet its obligations under Phase I of the EO. There has been no public sharing of data-collection or policy evaluations; only four affected communities within the entire county and two community grassroots organizations are represented on the PACT. There are no experts on mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, or domestic violence included on the PACT. In short, Nassau County has not provided a forum to allow community stakeholders to collaborate and help create a police reform plan for Nassau County.
As it stands, the County Executive and Police Commissioner have stated that a comprehensive plan will be presented to the public in November; this presentation will be the first opportunity for transparency into the County's process. LIAFPA asserts that this allows the county, led by law enforcement, to set the terms and framework for any reforms moving forward, violating both the Executive Order's spirit and content, making it a fait accompli.
Advocates, who met with county officials to express their concerns last month, emphasized their contention that the county is side-stepping an intentional, transparent, and inclusive process, favoring a disingenuous, manipulative public relations campaign. They also shared their concerns about the number of law enforcement and elected officials inside the PACT, and their role in controlling the process, leaving the fox to guard the henhouse.
The caravan gathered on the east shoulder of Earle Ovington Blvd in Uniondale and traveled through Garden City to Supreme Court Drive, ending at the north side of the Nassau County Supreme Court building.