June 3, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Hundreds of people marched to Assembly Member Michael DenDekker’s office Wednesday demanding that he support police reform measures.
The protesters demanded that DenDekker, who represents Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and parts of Woodside, do more to support state efforts to hold police officers accountable.
They claim that DenDekker’s recent steps toward law enforcement reform are political, moves taken given that’s a reelection year. The six-term incumbent faces multiple primary challengers.
DenDekker has co-sponsored a controversial bill this year that would repeal a decades-old state law which the NYPD uses to prevent the public from seeing the personnel records of its officers.
The law, known as 50-a, states that performance records of police officers, firefighters and correction officers — including disciplinary reports — are “confidential and not subject to inspection or review.”
In previous years, when the bill was introduced, DenDekker was not a co-sponsor and the bill never it made its way to the assembly floor for a vote.
Yesterday, DenDekker also donated $13,000 that his reelection campaign has taken from police PACs to a local nonprofit and food pantry.
However, the protesters called his recent actions superficial and said he has more law enforcement money to return.
“Assembly member DenDekker has historically received funding from the police and donating only a portion of the contributions is not enough,” said Mateo Guerrero, lead Organizer of Make the Road New York, the group that led the march.
Jessica González-Rojas, who is vying for DenDekker’s seat, was also critical of the incumbent. She claimed that he only made the donations and backed reforms after political pressure stemming from George Floyd’s killing and subsequent protests.
“We need a representative who will stand up for the district, which is 88% people of color, not law enforcement PACs that attempt to squash important criminal justice reforms,” González-Rojas said in a press release separate from the march.
DenDekker’s campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
However, in an press release his office put out yesterday, he said he is committed to reforming law enforcement.
“I am tired of all the repeated injustices that have been perpetrated against people of color, especially by police officers,” DenDekker said in a statement. “I am committed to making significant changes to law enforcement so that illegal misconduct is properly punished and that the police are held accountable.”