Op-Ed: D.A. Gascón: Yes, I’m ‘with the Blacks’ (and ‘against the Blacks’)
By Penny J. Silverman
October 11, 2011
New York City police officer D. A. Gascón is one of the highest-ranking officers in the country to have been indicted for official misconduct in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died on Staten Island in 2014 after being taken into custody.
Last week, Gascón came in for sharp criticism from the New York Civil Rights Coalition, The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine, which suggested that his prosecution had been politically motivated. But the New York Civil Rights Coalition has been a lightning rod for controversy since it was created in response to its own investigations into police behavior. According to the New York Civil Rights Coalition, the coalition—which includes the New York City Transit Authority, the Bronx Community Affairs Corporation, the city Department of Transportation and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission as well as unions like the New York City Taxi Workers’ Association and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees—has been “widely criticized since first being put together to investigate NYPD officers.”
According to Gascón’s statement to the press, the New York Civil Rights Coalition’s agenda is “to investigate police misconduct against African-American and Hispanic communities.” That’s not exactly a statement you’d want to believe from a citywide watchdog organization, especially one whose main purpose seems to be to target and discredit high-ranking officers like this one.
The New York Civil Rights Coalition has long been criticized as a politically neutral and relatively low-profile force. With the exception of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, most of the major civil rights organizations in the city have taken turns condemning the NYPD since its inception in the mid-1990s. But despite that, Gascón has continued to be a target of criticism from the New York Civil Rights Coalition, The New York Times, the New Yorker and the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The New York Civil Rights Coalition’s first major investigation into police behavior, the “Stop, Question, Frisk” campaign, was a series of stop-and-frisk raids which targeted young black and Hispanic