• Decrim NY

For Immediate Release: Four legislators sent letter to DOI demanding investigate NYPD Vice

For Immediate Release:

Four New York city and state legislators sent letter to DOI demanding investigation NYPD Vice, describing the Squad as “hotbed of corruption.”

Contact: Nina Luo 636-288-8279 or nina@vocal-ny.org

For comment from Senator Jessica Ramos: Julia @ 973-647-5922 or jarredondo715@gmail.com

For comment from Assembly member Ron Kim: Rachael @ 917 620 9159 or safirsteinr@nyassembly.gov

For comment from Assembly member Dan Quart: Aleks @ 773-584-8021 or wolan.ad73@gmail.com

New York, NY -- Assembly members Ron Kim, Dan Quart, State Senator Jessica Ramos, and City council member Ritchie Torres sent a letter to Department of Investigation demanding investigation into NYPD Vice Squad, describing it as a “hotbed of corruption” and questioning why “prostitution is included” if the purpose of the squad is to “solve victim-based crimes.”

For full letter, see here.

The letter states, “We have to accept that we are not dealing with one or two bad apples. These recurring incidents point to not only a culture of corruption and misconduct, but a consistent exploitation, endangerment, and victimization of sex workers by the NYPD.”

The letter cites three recent incidents as justification for investigation: first, when retired Detective Ludwig Paz was charged with running a prostitution and gambling ring that racked up $2M+ in profits in 13 months. Second, in November of 2017, sex worker Yang Song died while fleeing apprehension by Vice officers. Her family and her attorney believed she was sexually assaulted and harassed by an officer for months preceding her death. Third, Vice officers have engaged in inappropriate contact, including sexual abuse, of sex workers during stings.

“Particularly troubling is the squad’s continued harassment, endangerment, and in some cases downright exploitation, of sex workers,” said Assembly member Dan Quart. “For far too long NYPD Vice has been allowed to operate in the shadows, abusing its power and skirting accountability. No more.”

This letter comes in the midst of calls by city council members Peter Koo and Donovan Richards on Vice Squad to crack down on the Asian migrant workers of Flushing massage parlors. Koo and Richards asked residents to surveil and report massage parlors so that police could raid and shut them down.

“We are horrified that the police continue to raid massage parlors in the name of “rescuing” sex working people. 38 year old Yang Song died after a raid on her workplace in Queens conducted by the NYPD the previous evening in 2017,” said Red*, an activist with Red Canary Song, an organizing collective of migrant workers in the Flushing, Queens massage parlors. “If these massage parlor raids continue, more workers will die, be incarcerated, deported. We must defund Vice. Vice officers use their power to harass, intimidate, threaten and assault migrant women.”

“I made a promise to the family of Yang Song’s family that I will seek justice in her case, and I intend on keeping that promise,” said Assembly member Ron Kim. “Yang died tragically after months of documented harassment and trauma by the Vice Unit of the NYPD. Instead of harassing and pushing these workers to their deaths, we need to shift our entire way of addressing the core problem that these workers face everyday, which is directly tied to economic injustice. I look forward forward to working with my colleagues and advocates in seeking long-term solution.”

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