June 9, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
State senator Jessica Ramos has introduced a bill this week that would prevent the police from using military-style weapons on civilians.
Bill S.8516 bans law enforcement from using rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators. It also calls on law enforcement to destroy any chemical weapons in their possession.
Ramos wants aggressive police practices abolished following a series of beatings at George Floyd protests in the city. She said that the police have unleashed life-threatening weapons on New Yorkers in recent days.
“By cutting off their ability to senselessly attack crowds using chemical weapons, and other military equipment, we will encourage law enforcement to find other peaceful ways of doing their jobs while protecting our communities in times of disarray,” she said.
The ultimate goal of the bill, she said, is to ensure that demonstrators can safely and peacefully protest in the future.
Ramos said that many peaceful protests have turned ugly because police have thrown tear gas or shot rubber bullets into crowds without provocation.
The bill bans kinetic energy munitions like plastic, wax, wood or rubber bullets from being fired at civilian populations as well as tear gas.
The bill, co-sponsored by Brad Hoylman who represents midtown Manhattan, has been referred to the Senate Rules committee. An Assembly version has yet to be introduced.
Ramos is also sponsoring a bill that would limit the police from using drones to surveil protesters. Bill S.6435A cites such surveillance as having a chilling effect on protesters.
She has also called for the NYPD to be defunded and voted to repeal 50-A which would make police officer disciplinary records public.