Albany, NY – In response to reporting from City and State on the “Repeal Bail Reform” Facebook page exposing the group’s connection to white supremacists, Citizen Action of New York, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road Action, New York Communities for Change, New York Working Families and VOCAL-NY released the following statement:
“Months before New York’s new bail law went into effect, right-wing propaganda was being spread across the state to undermine this historic reform and entrench injustice across our state. Make no mistake, the effort to repeal our recently enacted and long overdue criminal justice reforms is rooted in a racist agenda that gravely endangers our communities. The Facebook group ‘Repeal Bail Reform,’ which has publicly posted white supremacist content and racist statements — targeting both legislators and community members — showcases the bigotry of those who favor a pretrial system that condemns Black, Brown and poor communities to brutal jail stays and unequal protection under the law.
We are appalled that Republican officials who are supposed to protect the Constitutional rights of all New Yorkers have not only actively supported and amplified this movement, but in fact, managed and controlled a public Facebook group that is replete with hate speech. Racism and white supremacy have swept our country with violence for generations, and we refuse to let these evils continue to dictate the policies and laws that affect our daily lives. The lives of Black, Brown and poor people should matter to those elected to represent us – regardless of party lines. Based on their involvement in this Facebook group and role in actively perpetuating white supremacy and hate against people of color, we call on the following individuals to personally disavow and publicly condemn the page, and immediately end all engagement with the Repeal Bail Reform group moving forward:
- Republican Party Political Director James Thompson
- Republican State Senator Fred Ashkar
- Senate GOP spokeswoman Candice Giove
- Erie County GOP Chair Jesse Prieto
- Assembly Minority Director of Conference Press Operations Nick Wilock
- Sheriff Jeff Murphy of Washington County
State Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy, Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay must also be held accountable for the actions taken on their behalf by their staff.
This page confirms that we have a long way to go to dismantle racial hatred. We cannot allow racist fear-mongering and the cowardly use of misinformation to detract from truth: New York’s landmark bail reform achievement advances equal justice and is a step forward in dismantling the New Jim Crow. We urge New York State Democrats not to bow to fear-mongering and rollbacks that will return a racist bail system to our state.”