On Friday, Aug. 7, from 4 to 6 p.m., Indivisible Mohawk Valley and Central New York Citizen Action will hold a peaceful demonstration at the Oneida Square Roundabout on Genesee Street in Utica.
The Oneida Square gathering is held in support of the Movement for Black Lives and the constitutional right to peaceful assembly.
Sheriffs across New York state recently endorsed a 10-point policing proposal. The proposal would make resisting arrest a felony that can’t be dismissed in a plea bargain and would make it a felony charge for any person to approach or stay within 25 feet of a police officer doing their job.
This means that a person standing 20 feet away and witnessing or filming police misconduct or assaults could themselves be charged with a felony.
These new penalties constitute a police backlash against the Movement for Black Lives and demands for policing reforms. They are designed to attack Black people, people of color, witnesses to police misconduct and protesters exercising their first amendment rights.
Oneida County has a long history of peaceful community rallies and protests. The legislative proposals from the sheriffs are a solution in search of a problem. They will not create safer conditions for police or the community but will create fear for those who want to exercise their constitutional right to peaceful assembly, generate felony records for more of our neighbors and disproportionately affect people of color.
The slate of proposals was rejected by New York state Senate Democrats July 23; we call on Sheriff Maciol to repudiate his previous endorsement of the plan and for legislators who represent our community in Albany to publicly announce that they will oppose this aggressive and unnecessary legislation.
This event is co-sponsored by Central New York Citizen Action and Indivisible Mohawk Valley.
Indivisible Mohawk Valley is a grassroots group of concerned citizens who embrace progressive values. For more information, visit indivisiblemv.org/.
Central New York Citizen Action is a Utica community-based and multicultural non-profit organization committed to living wage jobs, affordable health care, social services, educational opportunities and improvement in living conditions for low and moderate income people. For more information, visit facebook.com/Central-New-York-Citizen-Action-265689434204/.