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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)

email the author: news@queenspost.com

59 Comments

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Jefferson's Ghost

It may not be what the constituents want but it sure is what they voted for. Caban, Won, and Krishnan are doing exactly what they said they would do during the campaign. The fact remains that 70% of the constituency has gotten exactly what they voted for because they simply go into the voting booth and blindly vote Row A like a zombie. I do feel bad for the 30% but the truth is most Astoria residents are getting exactly what they deserve.

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Astoria Gal

Caban’s office is in my area and the only time I’ve seen her is when she knocked on my door to campaign for some child who was running for state senate. Otherwise she’s MIA on everything. She doesn’t understand Astoria and its citizen’s concerns. Sad. I’m a lifelong Democrat and always will be. But definitely not progressive. Seems to me that those running on the progressive banner are seriously out of touch. Case in point – when the coffee place across from Caban was held up at gunpoint in broad daylight, I’m told her reaction was “oh, that’s a coffee place?” Sad.

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Anonymous

I didn’t vote for her. I will not vote for her. I hope the rest of Astoria comes together to vote her out. What a sham…

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LB

This is exactly why the left is its own worst enemy. Even if these councilmembers believe that people who magically ended up on a gang list are those deserving all of their attention as a crime surge grips the city, they are ridiculously naive in the imaging and politics. I’m a lifelong progressive, but didn’t vote for this nor ever wanted this. I want to be able to walk down my block without being attacked and their bail reform calamity ensures that’s no longer assured. So now throw thousands of gang members out there too, why not. For naive short-term attention they’re going to throw city and state leadership to Republicans for years.

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Jefferson's Ghost

If only we were lucky enough to get Republican leadership at the city and state level. The truth is that we will keep getting Democrat commie nut jobs until the whole thing implodes.

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young_man!

Why not concentrate on legislation that will decrease crime rather than things like this that will increase crime? Never thought that politicians would be pandering to criminals.

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Astoria Original

They also want to prevent a replacement gang database? That’s the proof that they are not interested in reducing crime.

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M. DELGADO

Well, everything these council people have fought for has only made crime worse in this once safe city. So why not see how this continued departure from reality works.
Do any of these brilliant ideas come from people who work real jobs in this city? From people who are not chauffeured to their day grinds?From people whose kids, just might be standng in front of a store when some gang members going by on a moped, start shoting indiscrimately…
Let’s just keep floating ideas that sound good & fair, but put almost every NewYorker in a little more danger.
Lord knows, gang members’ civil rights are more important than everyone else’s.

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Marize

They are criminals friends. This is the most absurd thing that I read in my life. Thank God I didn’t vote on them but all idiots who did it will regret soon.

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Elise

Why not address the alleged shortcomings of the database (make it possible to remove innocent bystanders) instead of throwing a tantrum?

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Sara Ross

They should all get their resumes ready. Once they’re up for re-election, they’ll all be out of a job. If one of their family members got attacked, assaulted or died from injuries suffered during either crime, they would think differently. The 3 stooges have got to go.

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Robert Ferriggi

This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. This is the reason why after being such a staunch Democrat my whole life, I no longer vote Democrat. They are delusional!

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John

Wonder everyone is leaving NY.
Let these 3 representatives have their families terrorized by gang members.
I’m a life long New Yorker. When I leave I’ll remember the good people and good times. Not these embarrassing elected officials who are flushing the greatest city in the world down the toilet.

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Patricia Dunlea

I am a left voter. How this is a good thing is beyond reason. It may be inconvenient for some and getting a lawyer to get your name removed expensive, but a good idea to destroy it? Absurd. Technology is key and we respect it not destroy it? Every bit of info is essential to stopping crime.

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Wake Up

Citizens of NYC need to wake up and make sure Tiffany Cabán, Julie Won and Shekar Krishnan are no longer City Council. They need to work elsewhere. They caused this crime wave by their bail reforms. They need to find work elsewhere.

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Martin Shephard

This is absurd. Gangs and other criminals are terrorizing Queens and NYC as a whole. To suggest getting rid of this database or defunding the NYPD is an exercise in lunacy. People are afraid to ride the subways, walk the streets, and fear getting punched in the face, slashed, getting mugged by people on scooters or mopeds. Training a business owner how to deal with being robbed is not the answer unless the training involves the business owner pulling out a gun and killing the criminal. This is a typical political move. I hope these politicians are voted out of office. I will work my hardest to get them out. We need law and order not crazy viewpoints.

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Kar

Are you so crazy to abolish the data base that helps police search for criminals. Really?? I am a person of color and think that would be a stupid move. I would really campaign against that SMH. Where are the heads of the politicians these days.

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Alan B.

If these do-gooders want to keep helping the accused used with their ridiculous proposals, aren’t they in fact breaking their oath that they took when they became an elected or appointed official?

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Robert Berrios

Tiffany Cabán (L), Julie Won (C) and Shekar Krishnan (R) are co-sponsoring a bill that would abolish the NYPD’s gang database. If this happens and a Gang Member kills an innocent person or assaults some one then these three should get sued by the victim family. Or better yet they should be arrested aiding and abetting.

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Dg

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, abolish the “Gang Data Base.” These Council Members need to have their heads examined!

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Thomas McCarthy

I suppose local business owners looking down the Barrell of a gun are supposed to themselves “de-escalate the situation” and then what: report the occurrence to a social worker? Besides, most gang members are ‘people ofcolor ‘.

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Ron Spurga

Guess Won, Krishnan and Caban didn’t read that 400,000 white middle class residents have moved out of NYC since 2020 fearful of gang violenceWhat’s moving in are 50,000 migrants in Orchard Beach who are mostly criminal gang members. Soon NYC will be another Jackson, Mississippi left behind by a high tech tsunami in states which lock up black and brown criminals who for the most part commit 99% of all crime. We whites are tired of living in fear for our lives and wish Giuliani was still the Mayor.

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Larry

This is a totally racist post. In addition, it is not factual. To say that the migrants (actually asylum seekes) are mostly criminal gang members is pure balderdash. To say there are 50,000 is nonsense. To say that Black and Brown criminals commit 99% of the crime is racist and totally untrue. I’m surprised this racist post was allowed in the first place.

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Anonymous

under bloomberg evey brown , black , or colored person was a criminal , and under adams isa another pur years of bloomberg

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Panson

Caban has no idea what she is talk long about- not even a clue. And stop calling everyone people of color for effect

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Taino Boriqua Forever

This is the government that 70% + of the constituents in their respective districts voted for and they are getting exactly what they voted for. The other 30% should vote with their feet because there is no fixing this. In fact, it’s going to get worse. All three of these imbeciles will get reelected in landslides regardless of how much destruction they cause. But then, that is the classi commie goal – the destruction is intentional.

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LB

This is not what the constituents want. But people need to be educated. The surge in crime, and next the surge in gang violence must be tied to their names so the public knows.

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Sam

Not again . No stop and frisk and with bail reform now this… People wake up and need to vote red.

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Nick

Should put these politicians in jail, so they can better care for their criminals in person.

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Anonymously

NYC is a JOKE! WHO in their right mind would support this is beyond me. Of course it’s going to target people of color, it’s THOSE people of color that are part of the gangs. I mean you have to be some kind of idiot to turn a blind eye and deny that fact.

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Tom

Sure, they want this because in their districts there are numerous gangs. Each one probably has gang members in their families.

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Charles Jenkins

Obviously the 24% wage increase voted on by the councilmembers is paying for the gated community fees that keep the privileged bill sponsors safe. But the rest of us living in the real world require a need for some type of structure resembling symbolence of order and safety to exist with the ongoing threats of violence and criminality in this city. Privilege of the few to sacrifice the many.

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Avelino Jr Herrera

A really dumb move. This division is a tremendous opportunity to find out what is going on with the young people involved in gangs and keep a vital check on their direction. It’s an especially important part of the investigation division in the NYPD as well as the NYDC . Shame shame on the results that will happen as a result when people who are clueless as to what Police work is and how some specialists should forever remain as a part of the process in law enforcement!

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Joetta Brown

There’s not enough information presented to make an informed opinion and to weigh the realities in each neighborhood.

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Leo

Simple correct any error and continue using the list if it is working. I am sure that at 99% of names in this list have gang history. More countries should follow how the country of El Salvador is dealing with the proglem og gangs in their country.

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Alejandra Vargas

The council woman Caban she’s so wrong. She’s so concerned that the black and.brown community are targeted but is she blind that those community do commit a lot of crimes just look at the news and Why do you want to defunct our police department we need them..

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MJ MEZZINA

As a court attorney in Queens Supreme Court for 42 years, all I can say is this is ridiculous and dangerous.

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Owen May

I grew up in Astoria — 60 years ago. It was a wonderful place. There were occasional “gang” wars, yes. Italian versus African-American in my ‘hood on lower 30th Avenue. But they used fists and sticks. Murder was a rarity. And politicians used common sense.

I think THE problem facing New Yorkers today is ignorance. A simple failure to pay attention to reality beyond the tip of their nose glued to a cell phone. Unless, of course, they or a family member become victims themselves. Which they increasingly are. Then, they realize life in New York is a very serious problem. And politically there is something wrong.
Life has landed me in Wisconsin now. I don’t fear for myself or my family here. Just like it was in Astoria so long ago.

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Cherry

Eliminating the Gang Database will be the biggest mistake ever, gang activity is at an all time high all across America and even internationally.

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Konstantinos Booras

This is what happens when you elect self-admitted Socialists to local government. Crime is up 34% here, an FDNY EMT gets butchered yesterday, but these “progressives” want to eliminate the gang database. Nice work local voters! Vote for them again!

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moreofthe truth

Let’s get real…”99 percent of those on the database are people of color.” direct quote from the article … maybe the “people of color” should stop shooting at each other, lay down the guns and act like humans, stop this B.S. already…

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Nick

Change “the people of color” to “these people of color,” then I totally agree with you.

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Alan B.

Maybe it’s because cold hard facts tell a truth that the do-gooders don’t want to have to deal with?

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anon

Here we go again, you voted them in! Time to PROTECT the “ALLEGED” murderous Gangs, like M13s! Caban is visual impaired when biker gangs hold up cafe patrons at GUN POINT across the street in FRONT of her ASTORIA HEADQUARTERS this summer! Or The EMS that just TODAY got STABBED IN THE NECK & DIED!!! THE “ALLEGED” stabber has more rights than the TAX PAYERS or “THE STAYCATIONS–who don’t even LIVE here!” who voted in these “politicians” in. How about the dinning outdoors when a “alledge” criminal chokes you or punches you…for NO REASON!
OR
Just put Gang in ASTORIA POST’S own search engine to see just how “Safe” we are from Gangs!
Like:

VIDEO: Man Shot During Wild Daytime Shootout Near Woodside Playground Tuesday
June 8, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Gang activity on the rise in Astoria
June 24, By Michael Florio

10 Shot in Apparent Gang Shooting in Corona Saturday Night, Several Innocent Bystanders Injured
Aug. 1, 2021 By Christian Murray

Man Stabbed and Slashed Multiple Times By Gang of Five in Astoria
March 12, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Gang Fight Ends In Gunshots Outside Astoria Strip Club
May 18, By Michael Florio

‘Aces’ Strip Club Shut Temporarily After Gang Shooting
May 25, By Michael Florio

And that JUST from page one of the search of ASTORIA POST’S own search engine writen by Astoria Post’s own reporters!

If the Cops are further impeded from protecting us NO ONE will want to DO BUSINESS here or LIVE HeRe! As proven since the masses moving away from here cause of CRIME! And that’s just Astoria, NY in total is out of control! If your woke agenda is to keep protecting Crime than you will soon find yourself with no place safe to live!

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Bill

This is nonsense. Caban would eliminate the NYPD. Crime is rising in Astoria and these idealogues are out of touch with reality and actually are harming the communities they represent.

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KB

They would never go that far. Someone’s got to enforce NYC’s gun-grabbing laws to leaving normal people defenseless.

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