Imagine my dismay when I came across New York Daily News article about Mina Malik. After reading the article I said to myself, this is exactly why Mina Malik is the best person to become the next Queens District Attorney.
Prior to Ms. Malik taking the helm of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), CCRB historically failed in their role as an independent agency empowered to investigate, mediate, make findings and recommend meaningful action on behalf of victims that may have suffered excessive or unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy or the use of offensive language by the police. It was not long ago that minority communities were stopped, questioned and frisked (SQF) – unconstitutionally violating communities of color’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Have we so quickly forgotten what this was like for our people for over ten years? Where were these former unnamed CCRB staffers when communities of color were being stopped unconstitutionally walking home from work or school? How could these staffers have not been outraged, or better yet, stressed that their inaction enabled the then leadership of the police department to militarize our neighborhoods?
I guess the widespread violation of these people’s rights was not a priority, nor did it move them to seek therapy; who would of thought that working for a strong woman would be more stressful than watching people’s dignity indiscriminately being violated to reach a SQF quota. Why would it? They were just a part of a bureaucracy that was conditioned not to act and/or hold people accountable.
However, when Mina Malik arrived at CCRB that all changed and the people of this City finally had a robust process of accountability; a procedural justice process that addressed their allegations, a process that both the accused and accusers deserve. Mina Malik is about the future and the future is about reforming government systems that have disenfranchised poor communities, immigrant communities and communities of color for far too long. The people of Queens have an opportunity to elect a District Attorney that is going to bring the office to the 21stcentury and enhance public safety while respecting people’s rights.
Louis Molina is the First Deputy Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Corrections