July 21, 2023

On June 29th, four days before Jarrell Garris was shot in an encounter with New Rochelle police officers, I gave my regular monthly report to the New Rochelle Democratic Committee in my capacity as an elected official. I expressed concerns about the loss of momentum for our County proposal for an independent Police Accountability Department and about the reality that legislators in leadership may not push for it in light of the upcoming elections. Nonetheless, I suggested putting pressure on legislators throughout the county on this issue. As indicated here and here and here, Congressman Bowman and I have been the only elected officials to in Westchester to criticize, and call for further investigation into, incidents of excessively aggressive police tactics in New Rochelle. Progressive Democrats might ask those who may be challenging Congressman Bowman in next year’s elections what they will do to push this initiative forward. You may find additional coverage on the police shooting, after which Mr. Garris died from his injuries, on lohud.com.

Meanwhile, using as a model the May 2022 resolution of the White Plains Democratic City Committee directed to the White Plains Common Council regarding the White Plains Police killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., I have offered the resolution below for discussion and vote by the membership of the New Rochelle Democratic Committee as an item of New Business for Committee next Thursday, July 27th. I will also be suggesting that Indivisible New Rochelle begin a similar discussion at its meeting the following Saturday, July 29th. There is no issue of greater immediate concern in our City.


Whereas we, the members of the New Rochelle Democratic Committee, are shocked and saddened by the recent shooting and subsequent death of New Rochelle native Jarrell Garris during an attempted arrest by officers of the New Rochelle Police Department (“NRPD”) related to an alleged theft of less than one dollar’s worth of fruit from a neighborhood market; and
Whereas, in view of the video footage released by the NRPD thus far, the ranking officer’s  behavior under the circumstances was wildly over-aggressive and violent toward Jarrell Garris, as well as dangerous to the entire community, now therefore be it
Resolved that we, individually and as a body, express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jarrell Garris; and be it further
Resolved that we call for the further release of all audio and video record of the incident, whether from bodycams, car cameras or other public or privately-owned camera/security systems; and be it further
Resolved that we call on our City Council, immediately and without technical, legalistic concerns about admitting liability, to issue a full, formal and unconditional apology to the family of Jarrell Garris and to the traumatized community; and be it further
Resolved that we urge the City to fairly and adequately compensate the family for their loss of a father, son, brother; and be it further
Resolved that we demand that the City Council, in conjunction with the City Manager, exercise their oversight duty to review and effectuate change in NRPD policies, procedures, personnel and culture that have brought about such excessive and violent confrontations; and be it further
Resolved that, as a fitting memorial to Jarrell Garris and other victims of questionable police interactions, we adopt and strongly commend to the City Council and to the Westchester County Board of Legislators the proposals for independent and meaningful civilian oversight of law enforcement outlined in the April 3rd letter signed by 22 concerned New Rochelle residents (some of whom are members of this body), with its related attachment entitled “Six Criteria for an Effective New Rochelle CCRB” [ see attached .pdf file ].
Respectfully submitted,
DATED:   July       , 2023

I hope to see some of you at the march tonight.