Ex-Cons Offer NY Mayor-Elect Advice on Policing

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Friday, 22 Nov 2013 10:28 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A group of ex-criminals on Thursday offered New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio tips on policing and corrections, and ended up describing what the New York Post called a "get-soft" approach to policing.

What evolved from the Manhattan forum sponsored by Talking Transitions, an advisory group funded by liberal billionaire George Soros, was an endorsement for dumping  Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial stop-and-frisk crime-prevention policy.

DeBlasio didn't attend the forum — which brought together 50 ex-convicts, drug addicts, and vagrants — according to the Post. But he reportedly is considering dropping or changing stop-and-frisk, which has already undergone some changes due to a court ruling because of the way police target suspicious people on the streets.

Less police surveillance sounded like a good idea to at least two of the former convicts.

"I like the idea of ending stop-and-frisk," said Mikell Green-Grand, who has served time for grand larceny and identity theft, the Post reported.

Arthur Castillo, whose convictions include assault and possessing stolen property, complained that the police watch ex-cons too closely.

"A lot of us don’t feel we have an opportunity to re-adapt to normal life because we are treated as criminals even though we are free," he said.

Talking Transitions is advising deBlasio as he prepares to take office, the Post noted, adding that the views expressed at the forum could end up having "real policy effects" — a prospect that excited some of those at the forum.

"Bloomberg forgot about all of us. I’m hoping deBlasio remembers us," commented ex-con Gregorio “Koko” Cruz, 63, whose convictions include first-degree manslaughter, robbery, kidnapping, and criminal possession of a weapon, the Post reported.

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