By Sarina Trangle
Auguist 16, 2016
Upset over an administrative deal that stalled police reform legislation, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club President Allen Roskoff says he’s returning a proclamation awarded to him in 2014 by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for his activism.
Roskoff said he “cannot in good conscience accept an honor from someone who has used her powers to quash the will of the Council and betray those victimized by police.”
His prominent LGBTQ political club and other advocates expressed dismay when Mark-Viverito brokered a deal with the NYPD commissioner to implement parts of the Right to Know Act, which aims to guide how police behave when they stop New Yorkers, through department training and editing the patrol manual. The two bills included in the legislative package had enough co-sponsors to pass, but faced opposition from the commissioner and mayor.
After the agreement, Roskoff called on Mark-Viverito and Council Democratic Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer to resign from their leadership posts for “dereliction of duty.”
Mark Viverito’s office declined to comment for this story. The speaker, however, has previously argued her agreement would result in a more collaborative and quick implementation of reforms – and that if this tactic fails, legislation is always an option.
Van Bramer was the only member of the Council’s Progressive Caucus not to sign onto the legislation and has defended the handshake agreement, according to Roskoff.
“He’s number two in the Council, and he has situated himself in the Progressive Caucus so that he can undermine it,” Roskoff said.
Van Bramer’s office declined to comment.