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Queens Councilmembers Co-Sponsoring Bill to Abolish NYPD’s Gang’s Database

Tiffany Cabán (L), Julie Won (C) and Shekar Krishnan (R) are co-sponsoring a bill that would abolish the NYPD’s gang database (Photos: Michael Dorgan and NYC Council)

Sept. 29, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Three Queens Councilmembers are co-sponsoring a bill that would abolish the NYPD’s gang database.

The bill, which is being co-sponsored by Queens progressives Tiffany Cabán, Julie Won and Shekar Krishnan, would end the database and prevent the police department from compiling a replacement.

The NYPD’s gang database is a police resource tool containing the names of alleged gang members and other intelligence relating to street gangs. It is estimated that there are around 18,000 people currently listed on the database.

In a 2021 report, the NYPD stated that the database is a “critical component of modern policing and an invaluable tool for detectives investigating crime.”

However, advocates for the bill say that police have abused the database by unfairly targeting people of color. They often point to former police commissioner Dermot Shea stating in 2018 that 99 percent of those on the database are people of color.

Supporters of the legislation also say that people with no ties to gangs have been placed on the database and there is no way for them to get their names removed. They say that this can often lead to intensive surveillance, police harassment, overcharging, increased bail, risk of deportation and prejudicial treatment in court.

“The gang database is nothing but a dragnet to surveil and criminalize Black and brown New Yorkers, especially youth,” Cabán said in a statement to the Queens Post.

“It does nothing to reduce violence and plenty to intensify the horrors of the criminal punishment system.”

Cabán, a former public defender, said she has witnessed prosecutors weaponizing the database to coerce false confessions from people.

“Kids on this list for as little as wearing the wrong colors in the wrong place are threatened with gang conspiracy charges, and more,” said Cabán, who represents the 22nd District in western Queens covering Astoria, Rikers Island and portions of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.

“We must eliminate the gang database and prevent the creation of a replacement.”

Cabán attended a protest in Brooklyn earlier this month to rally support for the legislation. She has previously called for the need to defund and disband the NYPD, as well as advocating for Rikers Island to be shut down without the construction of new jails. The Astoria resident has also opposed Mayor Adams’ decision to bring back plainclothes police teams — saying they are ineffective and unfairly target minorities.

Cabán is instead calling for a radically different approach to public safety which would include less policing and encouraging local business owners to get trained in de-escalation tactics should they encounter a conflicting situation.

“If we truly care about public safety outcomes, the evidence-based, data-driven way forward is crystal clear,” Cabán said. “We must invest in the supports our young people need: mental healthcare, high-quality education, restorative justice, employment opportunities, nutritious food, and more.”

Cabán, Won, and Krishnan are among the 14 Councilmembers co-sponsoring the bill. It was introduced in May but is currently in committee, having not been put to the floor for a vote.

The Queens Post reached out to Won and Krishnan for comment in relation to the bill but did not receive a response. Won represents the 26th council district in western Queens while Krishnan is the Councilmember for District 25 covering Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.

The move to eliminate the NYPD’s gang database comes at a time when most citywide crime categories have increased this year — with overall crime up 34.4 percent, according to city data.

Crime stats for the 114th Precinct (NYPD)

For instance, in the 114th Precinct, which covers much of Cabán’s district, overall crime is up 23.3 percent compared to the same period last year. However, murders are down 62.5 percent and rapes are down 20 percent in her district.

The precinct also includes the Astoria, Woodside, Ravenswood and Queensbridge Houses – NYCHA complexes where there have been several shootings in the past three years.

Councilmember Robert Holden, a staunch supporter of the NYPD, is concerned that, if passed, the bill could lead to even more crime in the city. Holden represents District 30 which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, and parts of Woodhaven and Woodside.

“With the explosion of gang violence claiming so many innocent victims in this city, just who are these council members pretending to protect?” Holden said in a statement to the Queens Post.

“Eliminating the gang database is reckless, irresponsible and will result in even more violence in this city.”

Council Member Robert Holden, pictured, is concerned that, if passed, the bill could lead to even more crime in the city. (Photo: John McCarten)

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11 Comments

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Jorge Colon

Useful idiots, they are tools of the “Progressive movement”(ie: Socialism (double ie: Communism)). Too many Queens voters have fallen into this pit, swindled by the scam these collectivists.

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Michael

The ones hurt by the progressive pro criminal agenda are mostly poor Blacks and Latino’s. The progressive’s elected officials are mostly Black and Latino. I don’t understand why Blacks and Latino’s politicians want to cause harm to other Blacks and Latino’s? I live in a low crime Queens neighborhood so I feel safe but I feel sorry for innocent Black and Latino’s living in high crime areas who are victims.

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Luis Sanchez

These 3 are the new The 3 stooges. If this data base helps fight crime, why would you want to abolish it. The criminal is a criminal no matter what race the criminal is. This is just plain stupid. What’s next, you get arrested for a violent crime, Let’s say assault, or murder. Why not say 90% of these were people color so we won’t put it on their record. As a matter of fact, let’s do away with criminal records. This may be the dumbest thing i ever heard. PEOPLE OF NY, PLEASE VOTE THESE 3 STOOGES OUT!

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Robert

IDIOTS who were voted in by other IDIOTS. What do they think they will achieve by catering to the criminals ? People need to wake up and start voting Republican. Keep the gang database, keep the NYPD going strong, give the NYPD the ability to do their job and lock up all the street trash.

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jackson_heights_resident

having voted democrat all my life, i feel one way to have some hope for decent life in the neighborhood in the future is to vote top to bottom republican, doesnt matter who they are. what they’re doing has nothing to do with “progressive”.

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paul

Another knee jerk moronic reaction from the woke crowd. That is like saying because there are some poorly run psych. Hospitals they should put the patients in charge of it.

Monitor and correct if needed any issues in the system but don’t eliminate it.

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Javier

SURE….why don’t I just give the criminals the keys to my house and car too!!

THIS is why I switched from being a Democrat to an Independent! Because of dotards like these three. Then people wonder why more Latinos are switching to Republicans. These 3 will never get my vote again.

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paul

Agreed I went from democrat to independent too. It is incredible how moronic these three are and do not learn from history. This crowd almost destroyed NYC in the 1970s with their counterparts. There is a big difference between progressive and stupidity.

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Javier

As a proud Latino who was born in Brooklyn 51 yrs ago, I have always said there are only 2 types of people, and its not about race. There are good people…..and bad people. Leopards don’t change their spots and neither do criminals. The bad people need to be punished and put away, and the good people need to be able to live in a safe environment. I’m not voting Red or Blue anymore. I’m voting on who is going to be tougher on crime. I don’t worry because I’m not a criminal and criminals don’t vote anyway, so I don’t understand WHO’s side these politicians are on, because they’re definitely NOT fighting for the good people.

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