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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and has a rich tradition of reporting on policy that affects everything from the spaces where New Yorkers live and play to education, the environment, government transparency, police tactics and civil rights. Gotham Gazette also publishes The Eye-Opener, a daily morning e-newsletter round-up of top stories, sign up for the Eye-Opener and other alerts at GothamGazette.com.

Operating as usual

On May 21, with just ten working days to go in this year’s session, New York lawmakers added a major item to their docke...
06/04/2021
NYCHA’s Latest Rescue Plan Needs State Approval But That Won't Be Coming Anytime Soon

On May 21, with just ten working days to go in this year’s session, New York lawmakers added a major item to their docket: a bill that would overhaul how NYCHA operates tens of thousands of its public housing units.

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NYCHA Chair Greg Russ (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office) *This story was published in partnership with New York Focus.* With a week left in the legislative session, New York lawmakers shelved a city-backed plan that aimed to revamp 25,000 NYCHA apartments. On May 21, with just ten...

Brooklyn and Queens residents in the 34th City Council District must vote on term-limited Council Member Antonio Reynoso...
06/04/2021
Close Ally Has Inside Track in Race to Replace North Brooklyn City Council Member

Brooklyn and Queens residents in the 34th City Council District must vote on term-limited Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s replacement in this year’s election. The first and most important round of voting takes place in this month’s Democratic primary.

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Council Member Antonio Reynoso (photo: John McCarten/City Council) Brooklyn and Queens residents in the 34th City Council District must vote on term-limited Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s replacement in this year’s election. The first and most important round of voting takes place in this mont...

Nine Democratic candidates are running in the City Council District 1 primary for a seat based in Lower Manhattan.Read m...
06/04/2021
Crowded City Council Race in Lower Manhattan District Devastated by Covid

Nine Democratic candidates are running in the City Council District 1 primary for a seat based in Lower Manhattan.

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Council Member Margaret Chin and others (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council) Nine Democratic candidates are running in the City Council District 1 primary for a seat based in Lower Manhattan. The district includes parts or all of Battery Park, the Civic Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, Little I...

LISTEN: For the third episode of the Latino Vote '21 pop-up podcast, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas joined host E...
06/04/2021
Latino Vote '21 Podcast: Queens, with Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

LISTEN: For the third episode of the Latino Vote '21 pop-up podcast, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas joined host Eli Valentin to discuss the Latino vote in Queens.

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas (photo: @votejgr) For the third episode of the Latino Vote '21 pop-up podcast, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas joined host Eli Valentin to discuss the Latino vote in Queens. Listen through the audio below or find this and other episodes under the

Opinion: "Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City would launch covid vaccination sites at select ...
06/04/2021
City Should Quickly Expand Use of Schools as Vaccine Hubs — Welcoming Students, Parents, Staff and Anyone Else

Opinion: "Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City would launch covid vaccination sites at select schools across the city for 12 to 17-year-olds." by Jim Brennan, former NYS Assembly member

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Mayor de Blasio at a school offering vaccines (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office) Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City would launch covid vaccination sites at select schools across the city for 12 to 17-year-olds. The program is to start at four schools in the Bronx...

Opinion: "Minimizing the role police officers play in responding to mental health crisis calls is a sure sign of progres...
06/04/2021
De Blasio is on Right Track, But Mental Health Response Teams Need Crucial Changes to Really Work

Opinion: "Minimizing the role police officers play in responding to mental health crisis calls is a sure sign of progress, but the fact of the matter is that there is absolutely no role for law enforcement in a truly compassionate and appropriate crisis response system." by Cal Hedigan, CEO of Community Access & Carla Rabinowitz, Advocacy Coordinator at Community Access, are members of Correct Crisis Intervention Today - NYC (CCIT-NYC)

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Emergency response (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office) Last month, Mayor de Blasio unveiled his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which included a $112 million line item to expand his mental health teams pilot, yet to get off the ground, citywide. Minimizing the role police officers p...

LISTEN: Guests Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and Jeff Coltin of City and State NY joined...
06/03/2021
Max Politics Podcast: Breaking Down the New York City Comptroller Primary

LISTEN: Guests Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and Jeff Coltin of City and State NY joined host Ben Max to discuss what's so important about the position of Comptroller, what voters should be thinking about when they consider the candidates, who those candidates are, and some of the political dynamics of the race

(l-r) top: Brian Benjamin, Brad Lander, Kevin Parker, David Weprin, Corey Johnson; bottom: Reshma Patel, Zach Iscol, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Terri Liftin June 2, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Breaking Down the New York City Comptroller Primary The Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller is....

LISTEN: With just under three weeks until primary day, June 22, the mayoral race is wide open and unpredictable. Joe Anu...
06/03/2021
Max Politics Podcast: Where The Mayor's Race Stands with Under 3 Weeks To Go

LISTEN: With just under three weeks until primary day, June 22, the mayoral race is wide open and unpredictable. Joe Anuta of POLITICO New York joined host Ben Max to discuss what we know and don't know about the Democratic primary

City Hall (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayoral office) June 2, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Where The Mayor's Race Stands with Under 3 Weeks To Go With just under three weeks until primary day, June 22, the mayoral race is wide open and unpredictable. Joe Anuta of Politico New York joined host Ben Max to dis...

Opinion: "Our rates of recidivism are unacceptably high. An estimated 45% of all parolees experience a re-arrest within ...
06/03/2021
A Simple But Essential Step to Help Limit Recidivism

Opinion: "Our rates of recidivism are unacceptably high. An estimated 45% of all parolees experience a re-arrest within two years. Eliminating barriers to reintegration into society is a proven, fact-based way that we can reduce recidivism, and that starts by treating formerly incarcerated people as regular people." by Senator Brian Benjamin & Assemblymember David Weprin

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Rikers Island detainees (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office) In New York, our rates of recidivism are unacceptably high. An estimated 45% of all parolees in New York City experience a re-arrest within two years.  Eliminating barriers to reintegration into society is a proven, fact-b...

Opinion: "It’s a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine schooling in our city. Here’s how we can get it done" by ...
06/03/2021
Dream Big Dreams: How Federal and State Covid Relief Can Be Used to Revitalize New York City’s Public Schools

Opinion: "It’s a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine schooling in our city. Here’s how we can get it done" by Jason Myles Clark, Esq., founder of the free tutoring and mentoring program DREAMChasers and a Democratic Candidate for City Council in Queens’ District 27

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Students at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office) In 1951, Langston Hughes famously asked, “what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or fester like a sore and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy s...

The war of words between City Council Member Brad Lander and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, continues to escalate as Lan...
06/02/2021
City Budget Negotiations and Comptroller Primary Collide

The war of words between City Council Member Brad Lander and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, continues to escalate as Lander raises concerns that Johnson will leverage the city budget to help his chances of winning the June primary.

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Corey Johnson and Brad Lander (photo: John McCarten/City Council) The war of words between City Council Member Brad Lander and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, both Democratic candidates for city comptroller, continues to escalate as Lander raises concerns that Johnson will leverage the city budget to...

.Kathryn Garcia has lept toward the top of the heap of Democrats vying to be the next Mayor. She is running on her exten...
06/02/2021
What is Kathryn Garcia's Mayoral Campaign Platform?

.Kathryn Garcia has lept toward the top of the heap of Democrats vying to be the next Mayor. She is running on her extensive government career, where she has been called upon to respond to catastrophe and mismanagement and deliver key city services.

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Kathryn Garcia as sanitation commissioner (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office) Kathryn Garcia, long a relatively unknown bureaucrat who has lept toward the top of the heap of Democrats vying to be the next Mayor of New York City, is running on her extensive government career, where she has be...

Opinion: Our clients feel safer in New York City Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD). DYCD shelters were ...
06/02/2021
Homeless Young Adults Must Have Equal Access to Housing in New York City

Opinion: Our clients feel safer in New York City Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD). DYCD shelters were created specifically for young people because of their unique needs. This age group is at a different stage developmentally, socially and emotionally." by Carolyn Strudwick, MSW, is Associate Vice President of the Streetwork Program at Safe Horizon

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A discussion with young adults (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photograph) New York City Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) shelters and drop-in centers are specifically designated for youth and young adults ages 16-24. Yet, those same youth, when between the ages of 18-24, are not e...

Opinion: "Decisions around development are among the most controversial and consequential that our city leaders face. Wh...
06/02/2021
A Small But Mighty Model for Community-Driven Development

Opinion: "Decisions around development are among the most controversial and consequential that our city leaders face. Whether a single building or an entire neighborhood, rezoning can change the face of a community for years to come." by César Zuñiga, Democratic candidate for City Council in Brooklyn’s 38th District

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New Yorkers participating (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office) Decisions around development are among the most controversial and consequential that our city leaders face. Whether a single building or an entire neighborhood, rezoning can change the face of a community for years to com...

WATCH: Nine of the candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 9, which is mostly made up of ...
06/01/2021
WATCH: City Council District 9 Democratic Primary Debate

WATCH: Nine of the candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 9, which is mostly made up of Central Harlem in Manhattan, met for a zoom debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network - MNN and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max

City Council District 9 primary debate Nine of the candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 9, which is mostly made up of Central Harlem in Manhattan, met for a zoom debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. Partici...

Opinion: "As a City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I understand that people need to ...
06/01/2021
A Resounding No to Deadly No-Knock Warrants

Opinion: "As a City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I understand that people need to feel safe, particularly in their homes. One aspect of this safety is an assurance that authorities will not haphazardly burst in." by City Council Member Adrienne Adams

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NYPD (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office) As a City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I understand that people need to feel safe, particularly in their homes. One aspect of this safety is an assurance that authorities will not haphazardly burst in. ...

WATCH: Candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 5, which is mostly made up of Manhattan's ...
05/31/2021
WATCH: City Council District 5 Democratic Primary Debate

WATCH: Candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 5, which is mostly made up of Manhattan's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, met for a zoom debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network - MNN and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max

City Council District 5 debate Candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 5, which is mostly made up of Manhattan's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, met for a zoom debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. Partici...

Opinion: "This past week, an obscure public body, the New York City Banking Commission, decided that the city can resume...
05/31/2021
New York City Gets Back in Bed with a Bad Bank — But There’s a Better Way

Opinion: "This past week, an obscure public body, the New York City Banking Commission, decided that the city can resume banking with Wells Fargo — meaning the scandal-scarred bank could hold billions of public dollars for at least the next two years." by Andy Morrison, Associate Director of New Economy Project

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The Mayor on Wall Street (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office) This past week, an obscure public body, the New York City Banking Commission, decided that the city can resume banking with Wells Fargo — meaning the scandal-scarred bank could hold billions of public dollars for at least the nex...

Some progressive groups and activists are placing their hopes in Maya Wiley to consolidate undecided left-leaning voters...
05/31/2021
With Progressive Rivals in Trouble, Can Maya Wiley Consolidate The Left in Mayor's Race?

Some progressive groups and activists are placing their hopes in Maya Wiley to consolidate undecided left-leaning voters and disaffected Morales and Stringer supporters as they seek to ensure that someone who shares their values and vision becomes the next mayor of New York City.

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Maya Wiley with supporters (photo: Wiley campaign) Moderate candidates Eric Adams and Andrew Yang have been leading in the Democratic mayoral primary while two prominent progressives, Dianne Morales and Scott Stringer, have stumbled. Some progressive groups and activists are now placing their hopes....

LISTEN: Eli Valentin is a professor, political analyst, and writer who has experience as a political consultant and work...
05/31/2021
Latino Vote '21 Podcast: The Bronx, with Council Member Rafael Salamanca

LISTEN: Eli Valentin is a professor, political analyst, and writer who has experience as a political consultant and working in city and state government in New York. In this second episode of the podcast, listen to Valentin and Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. of the Bronx discuss the importance of the Latino vote in the 2021 elections, particularly in the Bronx, which is home to the most Latinos of any borough in the city, and more:

City Council Member Rafael Salamanca (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council) Eli Valentin is a professor, political analyst, and writer who has experience as a political consultant and working in city and state government in New York. He writes regular columns for Gotham Gazette, largely focused on Latino p...

The Democratic primary in the race to become the next Mayor of New York City is fast-approaching, with early voting June...
05/28/2021
Where They Stand: Compare NYC Mayoral Candidates On The Issues

The Democratic primary in the race to become the next Mayor of New York City is fast-approaching, with early voting June 12-20 and primary day June 22.

Use our interactive tool to compare the eight leading Democratic candidates for Mayor on a variety of issues:

 (l-r) Top: Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Yang, Ray McGuire; Bottom: Eric Adams, Dianne Morales, Maya Wiley, Scott Stringer The Democratic primary in the race to become the next Mayor of New York City is fast-approaching, with early voting June 12-20 and primary day June 22. With ranked...

With under four weeks to go till the June 22 primary, the top Democratic mayoral candidates are receiving another round ...
05/28/2021
Morales, Wiley, Garcia and Yang Get Major Matching Funds Boost for Stretch Run

With under four weeks to go till the June 22 primary, the top Democratic mayoral candidates are receiving another round of public matching funds from the Campaign Finance Board, giving several of them the boost they need in the crucial period ahead.

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(l-r) Dianne Morales, Maya Wiley, Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Yang With under four weeks to go till the June 22 primary, the top Democratic mayoral candidates are receiving another round of public matching funds from the Campaign Finance Board, giving several of them the boost they need in the crucial pe...

Opinion: "On Tuesday, June 22, Kathryn Garcia stands to get Hillary’d in the Democratic primary election for New York Ci...
05/28/2021
Don’t Let Kathryn Garcia Get Hillary’d

Opinion: "On Tuesday, June 22, Kathryn Garcia stands to get Hillary’d in the Democratic primary election for New York City Mayor." by Kaivan Shroff, political commentator and alumnus of the Hillary for America Digital Team

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Kathryn Garcia with Andrew Yang (photo: @aqreno) “A competent woman losing a job to an incompetent man is not an anomalous Election Day surprise; it is Tuesday in America,” writes New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister in one 2016 presidential election debrief. Unfortunately, five long years of ...

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Under-65s will only receive a COVID-19 Vaccine if they are considered to be vulnerable in health. For all those who are not yet receiving a vaccine - the most scientifically evidenced way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to eat anti-viral foods and engage in a moderate daily exercise routine. DISCOVER THE SCIENCE NOW @ https://KnowledgeIsForEveryone.com - God Bless New York!
Christmas New and Old By John Burl Smith There is no time in life when gift-giving is so prolific than Christmas, and for children, it is the “mother lode” for some, while fraught with disappointment for others. I say this because I believe most children are incapable of truly understanding the pain and anguish their parents endure, especially parents living in poverty, agonizing over being able to meet the minimum hopes of their children’s expectations at Christmas time. My wife, Dot, and I were both children of poverty, so this scenario had particular significance for us. During the Christmas season, like most Americans, we always watched two movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story.” This year, however, I have gained a different perspective, not only from their moral lessons but a much broader societal aphorism regarding what America has experienced throughout 2020. For the first time in my life, Christmas 2020 arrives with foreboding, after ominous events have unfolded throughout the year, which may have seemed coincidental and totally unrelated to their occurrence. Nevertheless, they revealed such vulnerabilities, not only for the American people but their democratic form of government. Again, I point to the two fantasies I mentioned earlier to highlight how some hopes and desires, no matter how innocent or unintended they may have seemed starting out, have made avoiding disaster a Divine reprieve. Understanding my point in alluding to these movies, one must look at the characters and how events impact them, producing particular outcomes. Just as Christmas 2019 faded below the horizon, the coronavirus invaded America, as the political primary season opened with a thud for many. Still, for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters, it opened with a bank. Donald Trump’s rosy scenarios painted of America’s future for his MEGA army presented bright prospects of economic prosperity and political stability, which made his election a forgone conclusion. Trump appeared unstoppable beginning his campaign, but a strange thing happened on the way to his coronation, which makes “A Christmas Story” like a story from the Bible that warns of God sending plagues against the ungodly. The first warnings about COVID-19, the true meaning of which escaped most Americans, and definitely not how it would change our world. But, Donald Trump would admit months later, “I downplayed the problem because I didn’t want people to panic.” Personally, I believe the shoe is on the other foot as to who panicked in the face of COVID-19!! The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is built around a character that does everything right as a hero. He views his community as his family, but a sinister and hateful grinch steals his life’s and our hero contemplates su***de. His lost life is shown to him, as an alternative reality, if he had never been born. Just a fantasy, you say, so I present the state of Georgia as a case in point, not the physical landscape, but its people past and present. I contrast them going back on April 6, 1861, when Georgia followed secessionist South Carolina, after it opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, joining the Civil War against the United States of America. Five years later, following their humiliating defeat Georgia, again followed other confederate states that would not accept defeat. They bought into another alternate reality, “the lost cause,” which denied why they took up arms against the United States because they would not end slavery. Their fight to keep slavery at all costs morphed into the alternative reality of “states’ rights,” which created the “solid South.” Denial became a way of life that mirrored George Orwell’s “1984” “doublethink”—the ability to hold two competing realities or thoughts in one's mind simultaneously without recognizing or acknowledging the contradictory nature of the two. “A Christmas Story” presents the other relevant scenario in the person of a child. Although the character is sweet and adorable, the belief he holds in his mind is the harbinger of disaster if given what he craves. The child star, who wishes for something all the adults in his life, says the child does not need it because he does not understand the ramifications of his desire. Their warnings, “You'll shoot your eye out,” is ignored, and he embarks on a course to obtain his heart’s desire. The moral of the story is quite simple, “because one desires something does not mean they should have it simply; it makes them happy.” The vast majority of adults in the South were all like the kid in “A Christmas Story,” oblivious of the real cost of war, not just to those who would fight and die to please petulant slave masters in their actual “lost cause,” but their state and the people living there who had no say in the matter. Similar to kids, they preferred to burn the house down because they could not get their way and continue enslaving African human beings to make money, people they stole and forced to work for free. But more than anything, they refer to treasonous acts as their “proud heritage.” The fact is today, we cannot go back to April 12, 1861, and unload the first cannonball before firing on Fort Sumter. Still, the children of Georgia today, Black, white, Latino, and Asians, refuse to continue reloading those canons in a vain attempt to maintain that hideous legacy of hatred, discrimination, and murder against American descendants of slavery. Today young progressives are following the brilliant leadership of Stacey Abrams. Young progressives have taken to the streets, defying the odds supporting Senate candidates Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They have taken up Alicia Keys new anthems accompanied by Brandi Carlile “A Beautiful Noise” and personal statement “Brand New Me,” hoping to create a new kind of world. They are refusing to live in a world that existed only between the ears of their great-grandparents. They abhor that world because it denies them the friends they want, loves they have and families they are building. I was in the streets in the 1960s, as an Invader in Memphis, supporting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I was also one of the last two people to talk with him in a strategy meeting. The things our children are back in the streets fighting for today are the things Dr. King shared with Charles Cabbage and me on his last day. And, as Malcolm X declared, “the chickens are coming home to roost,” after a century of hatred. I began talking about Christmas, children, and presents because I believe Dr. King’s life was a present he gave up purchasing the opportunity this generation is presently fighting to achieve. Whether America realizes it or not it is witnessing an epic battle that will decide the fate of millions today and in the future. I am proud to be counted among those on the frontline in this fight. As in 1968, I can sit this one out either, no matter the outcome. We owe Dr. King this battle to fulfill and live out the dream he gave the world. Today we here in Georgia are trying to break down the walls built by that first shot at Fort Sumter. Young progressives are calling out their parents and grandparents, who still refuse to accept the new world they see and are fighting to build. Old white men would rather fight another Civil War and destroy democracy in America to hold on to power. Those who care about democracy in America must join us and help in any way you can. The Donald Trumps and Mitchell McConnells care only about what they want power—guns, like the kid in “A Christmas Story.” Yes, guns are their symbol of power. And that power is demonstrated each time police murder black men and women on the street, on their doorsteps, and in their beds. Their power is not to enforce law and order or justice. It is about power and maintaining it at any cause. Were it not for COVID-19, the world would not be witnessing the spectacle. We in Georgia are fighting for the world that will exist after COVID-19. We are setting down the mark for where that world will begin.
Black Lives Matter and Qualified Immunity By John Burl Smith I begin this article with a few questions that readers must keep in mind while reading about America's epidemic of police murders of young black men and women. "Why aren't young white men getting killed by police if the deaths of black people are unrelated to some racial motive? Is it that police do not stop and attempt to arrest young white men, as they do young blacks? Could it be that police respond with a totally different mindset and a totally different intent when they encounter young white men than with blacks? Are police responses as aggressive and volatile with white youths as with black youth? The terms “defund the police” and “qualified immunity” forms a dichotomy that is mutually exclusive and was brought into relief last summer, following the 8 minutes and 46 seconds video of George Floyd's ex*****on in Minneapolis, Minnesota (5-25-2020) by police. The visual spectacle captured the world's attention and brought protest into streets demanding justice for black people. Governments in general and police forces in specifically across America, refusing to acknowledge injustice to black communities, Black Lives Matter became the group that galvanized young people of all races and colors. They fill streets in cities with the cry "defund the police;" it was their provocative solution to the problem white people doubled down on, as the body count for black youth mounts. The need is to put the policing and “qualified immunity” in perspective, like driving while looking in the rearview mirror. Richard Nixon began the turn away from consideration of law and order based on constitutional rights. Nixon equated protest as an attack on American values and gained white Americans' support to win the White House in 1968. Nixon's appeal was picked up, brushed off, and expanded by Ronald Raegan in1980. Raegan closed down mental health facilities and institutions across America as a cost-cutting measure to finance tax cuts for rich white people. He criminalized psychiatric problems and made such victims part of policing, justifying locking sick people up as criminals. This decision fell heaviest on poor and minority Americans. Denying treatment in facilities, these Americans became the homeless population, and again without doctors and treatment facilities were phased out. Raegan slashed The Department of Health and Human Service budget to give more tax cuts to rich white people. The job of dealing with mental illness and drug abuse fell to police departments. Remaining funds for psychiatric care and mental health facilities also went into tax cuts or directed to police departments to support Raegan’s “law and order” platform. Raegan’s rhetoric diminished concerns for how police treat people they arrested, while simultaneously he beefed-up police departments with military-grade equipment. The media and movies play a vital role, flooding the nations with crime based productions. These productions helped eliminate concerns for black people’s constitutional rights by identifying them as criminals—Clint Eastwood’s movies are a classic example. Law enforcement and policing in America became a jobs program for white men, especially military veterans. Eventually, being a white man qualified that person to be a cop. Black people were presented as America’s crime problem, and the police’s job was to keep them under control. Consequently, whatever police did to protect white people from the menace of crime—black people—was acceptable. Constitutional rights were considered a hindrance to law enforcement. Police departments began working with politicians, crafting rules and procedures to get around black people’s civil rights with “Crime Bills.” The significant impact of this period for descendants of American slavery was “qualified immunity.” The concept of “qualified immunity” was a cover for ignoring black people’s constitutional rights and justifying police brutality and murdering black people with impunity. Police did not deploy the same tactics in white communities, which is the basis of the two different policing systems in America. An unintended consequence of “qualified immunity” came with the impact of George Floyd’s ex*****on; it foreshadowed the rise of “Black Lives Matter.” Rising out of the chaos street demonstration, Black Lives Matter turned their street protest into street politics and became a significant force driving the election of President-elect Joe Biden. Mr. Biden’s selection as Attorney General can do the thing for equal justice as Black Lives Matter did for politics. The AG can be the turning point for the black communities and lifting the scourge of “qualified immunity” and return a concern for the constitutional rights of American descendants of slavery to an effort of equal justice. However, during the heat and passion that engulfed the nation approaching the November 3rd election, another major event happened in the US Supreme Court’s so-called august chamber, which mostly went unnoticed. The Supreme Court issued a decision that struck a significant blow to “qualified immunity” as a defense for law enforcement officers. Taylor v. Riojas became the first such ruling by the Supreme Court since 2004. Whether the Court will take more forceful action and continue to curb “qualified immunity” remains to be seen. “Qualified immunity” is the notorious doctrine under which law enforcement officers and many other government officials are immune from civil suits for violating constitutional and statutory rights in the course of performing their duties unless they have violated “clearly established” law. Courts have interpreted “clearly established” so narrowly that officers routinely get away with horrendous abuses, even murder, merely because no federal court in their area has previously decided a case with “essentially identical facts.” A petitioner on writ of certiorari Trent Taylor an inmate in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, came before the court. Taylor alleges that, for six full days in September 2013, correction officers confined him in a pair of shockingly unsanitary cells. The first cell was covered, nearly floor to ceiling, in “‘massive amounts’ of f***s”: all over the floor, the ceiling, the window, the walls, and even “‘packed inside the water faucet,’” Taylor v. Stevens, 946 F. 3d 211, 218 (CA5 2019). Fearing that his food and water would be contaminated, Taylor did not eat or drink for nearly four days. Correctional officers then moved Taylor to a second, frigidly cold cell, which was equipped with only a clogged drain in the floor to dispose of bodily wastes. Taylor held his bladder for over 24 hours, but he eventually (and involuntarily) relieved himself, causing the drain to overflow and raw sewage to spill across the floor. Because the cell lacked a bunk, and because Taylor was confined without clothing, he was left to sleep naked in sewage. Although Taylor’s race is not listed, he had to be black!!!! The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit properly held that such conditions of confinement violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. But, based on its assessment that “[t]he law wasn’t clearly established” that “prisoners couldn’t be housed in cells teeming with human waste” “for only six days,” the court concluded that the prison officials responsible for Taylor’s confinement did not have “ ‘fair warning’ that their specific acts were unconstitutional.” 946 F. 3d, at 222 (quoting Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U. S. 730, 741 (2002)). The Fifth Circuit erred in granting the officers “qualified immunity” on this basis. ‘“Qualified immunity’ shields an officer from suit when she makes a decision that, even if constitutionally deficient, reasonably misapprehends the law governing the circumstances she confronted.” Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U. S. 194, 198 (2004) (per curiam). But no reasonable correctional officer could have concluded that, under the extreme circumstances of this case, it was constitutionally permissible to house Taylor in such deplorably unsanitary conditions for such an extended period of time. See Hope, 536 U. S., at 741 (explaining that “ ‘a general constitutional rule already identified in the decisional law may apply with obvious clarity to the specific conduct in question’ ” (quoting United States v. Lanier, 520 U. S. 259, 271 (1997))); 536 U. S., at 745 (holding that “[t]he obvious cruelty inherent” in putting inmates in certain wantonly “degrading and dangerous” situations provides officers “with some notice that their alleged conduct violate[s]” the Eighth Amendment). The Fifth Circuit identified no evidence that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement were compelled by necessity or exigency. Nor does the summary-judgment record reveal any reason to suspect that the conditions of Taylor’s confinement could not have been mitigated, either in degree or duration. And although an officer-by-officer analysis will be necessary on remand, the record suggests that at least some officers involved in Taylor’s ordeal were deliberately indifferent to the conditions of his cells. See, e.g., 946 F. 3d, at 218 (one officer, upon placing Taylor in the first f***s-covered cell, remarked to another that Taylor was “ ‘going to have a long weekend’ ”); ibid., and n. 9 (another officer, upon placing Taylor in the second cell, told Taylor he hoped Taylor would “ ‘f***ing freeze’ ”). Confronted with the particularly egregious facts of this case, any reasonable officer should have realized that Taylor’s conditions of confinement offended the Constitution. We, therefore, grant Taylor’s petition for a writ of certiorari, vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. It is so ordered. In Taylor, a 7-1 majority (the just-confirmed new Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate), concluded that the lower court had gone too far in granting “qualified immunity” to prison officials in an egregious case where they subjected a prisoner to horrific treatment: The Court is right to conclude that the facts here were “particularly egregious” and that any reasonable officer should have been able to understand that this kind of abuse violated the Eighth Amendment. You don’t have to be a great legal theorist to figure out that forcing a prisoner to live amidst raw sewage and f***s for days on end is “cruel and unusual.” At the same time, it’s far from clear that the facts in this case are really that much worse than those in many other situations where courts have upheld “qualified immunity” defenses, such as recent cases where police officers stole $225,000 from civilians while conducting a search and shot a 10 year old boy in the course of an attempt to shoot the family dog (who posed no threat to the officer). If the Fifth Circuit expected too little of the “reasonable" officer, it may be because the courts—including the Supreme Court—have been defining "reasonability” down for a long time now. In a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito agreed with the other six justices in the majority that the “qualified immunity” argument should be rejected based on the “horrific” conditions in the cell, and the egregious behavior of the prison officials. It may be more likely that the Court wanted to send a message to lower courts, that the latter should no longer grant “qualified immunity” in these kinds of highly egregious cases. The backlash against “qualified immunity” generated by the public reaction to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police may have led the justices to conclude that a step like this was warranted. What remains to be seen is whether the Court will follow up by considering whether “qualified immunity” should be abolished entirely, or at least severely pared back. The doctrine has been severely criticized by legal scholars and by Supreme Court justices as varied as Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor. Perhaps Taylor is the beginning of the end of “qualified immunity.” But it is also possible that the majority of the justices just want lower courts to adopt a modestly less forgiving interpretation of current doctrine. Future cases will tell. In the meantime, opponents of “qualified immunity” should continue their efforts to abolish it through legislation at both the state and federal level. The Supreme Court may eventually fix this problem, which was created by its own earlier decisions. But we shouldn’t count that chicken unless and until it actually hatches. Colorado and (to a lesser degree) Connecticut have already adopted effective reform laws. Efforts to abolish or reform “qualified immunity” under federal law have stalled due to opposition by the White House and many congressional Republicans. But the political environment may change after tomorrow’s election is known. History shows that successful movements to strengthen protection for constitutional rights often combine litigation with political action instead of exclusively relying on one strategy to exclude the other. Hopefully, the cross-ideological movement to end “qualified immunity” can continue to make progress in the same way. The following are the latest two police murders of young black men, without a single encounter of a white youth brutalized by police, since George Floyd’s ex*****on. A CNN crew of Ray Sanchez, Rebekah Riess, Nicquel Terry Ellis, Hollie Silverman, Amir Vera, Eric Levenson, and Devon Sayers combined their effort to piece together the tragic murder of Casey Goodson 23 in Columbus, Ohio. Goodson’s grandmother told a 911 dispatcher that “He had been shot in the back, and I’m not sure if he is breathing,” moments after his fatal encounter with a law enforcement officer at his Ohio home, based on the 911 call. Casey Goodson was shot Friday by Deputy Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Sharon Payne, Goodson’s grandmother, said, “There was a bunch of gunfire.” The call ended when the police ordered everyone out of the house. Sean Walton, the Goodson family attorney, said, “Casey is not a bad kid. He does not have a police record. According to the Columbus Division of Police, Casey had an Ohio concealed carry permit and was legally armed at the time of the shooting.” Goodson, who was Black, was not alleged to have committed any crimes, has no criminal background, and was not the target of any investigation. Peter Tobin, US Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said, “The fugitive task force was wrapping up an unrelated investigation when a deputy saw a black man with a gun. That’s when the deputy, at some point after that, confronted him.” Goodson returned home from the dental appointment when the deputy fired the fatal shots, hitting him in the back. Tamala Payne, Casey”s mother, said, “My son would not have harmed a fly. My son was saving up to go into business for himself. He had plans, dreams, goals, and they were ripped from him for nothing. If my son was given a command, he would have listened.” “Cause of death, at this time is preliminary,” according to Dr. Anahi M. Ortiz, who said, “However, based on current findings the cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds to the back of the torso.” Columbus Police investigators are examining whether Meade was legally justified in shooting Goodson. The US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and the FBI is launching a federal civil rights investigation. A Taskforce was looking for violent offenders, not Goodson. Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said. “This offers the highest level of transparency and a clear path to the truth,” Meade was working for the US Marshal’s fugitive task force looking for violent offenders at the time, but Goodson was not the person being sought by the task force, Columbus Police said. During the task force operations, Meade reported seeing a man with a gun and was investigating the situation when there was reportedly a verbal exchange prior to the shooting, the Columbus Division of Police said. According to police, no other officers witnessed the shooting. No civilian eyewitnesses were identified. There is no body camera footage of the actual shooting because Franklin County Sheriff’s task force officers aren’t issued body cameras. The shooting has left the Black community in Columbus reeling, and rallies calling for justice in Goodson’s case are set for Friday and Saturday in Columbus. Local civil rights activists say police brutality against Black in Columbus is nothing new. Law enforcement officers in the Black community have in the past shot young Black men and used aggressive policing tactics in Black neighborhoods, said Kiara Yakita, founder of the Black Liberation Movement of Central Ohio. Black men and teens killed in Columbus by police in recent years are Julius Tate, 16 years old, fatally shot by an officer in December 2018, during a sting operation; Kareem Ali Nadir Jones, 30 years old was fatally shot by officers in July 2017; police killed Tyre King, 13 years old in September 2016; and a plainclothes officer in June 2016 killed Henry Green, 23 years old. The Movement for Black Lives leaders said they believe Goodson was “executed.” Chelsea Fuller, Columbus spokeswoman for the Movement for Black Lives, said, “The community realignment can and will happen through defunding the police, reducing their bloated budgets, and reinvesting those resources in the creation of new systems of public safety that account for all lives, not just some. According to a study by the University of Toronto, Columbus is 59% White and 28% Black, which produced racial tension extending beyond policing. Black residents say the history of redlining, segregation, and gentrification of Black neighborhoods is another boiling point. Columbus is the fourth most economically segregated metro area in the country. “Dashcam Video Provides Details of Fatal Law Enforcement Shooting of two Florida Teens,” reported by Ray Sanchez of CNN, which reveals a similar unjustified police killing in a state notorious for murdering young black men—Florida. The community learned that the sheriff’s deputy, while following a suspected stolen car fatally shot two Black teenagers in Cocoa, Florida, and residents were outraged. They are demanding answers for why the two teens were gunned down over a suspected stolen car. Authorities released a 56-second dashcam video of the deadly encounter, posting it on the Brevard County Sheriff’s page Tuesday evening. However, CNN footage of the dashcam video is far more complete, which shows deputies followed the suspects’ car for over a mile and never gave any indication they wanted the supposed stolen car to pull over. Moreover, even though there seemed to be at least three cars involved, they did not try to box the vehicle in at stop signs. Once the car turned into a driveway, officers did not block the driveway to prevent the car from leaving. They waited until the car pulled back onto the street but still did not turn on the siren or flashing lights to alert the driver they wanted to talk with occupants. Deputies allowed the car to back onto the street before verbally demanding the driver to stop. But while one deputy screamed at the driver to stop, other officers opened fire on the vehicle, as one deputy seemingly attempted to step in front of the moving vehicle. Even though they were in a residential area, with homes all around, police fired multiple shots, trying to stop the car, but killing two of the teens identified as Sincere Pierce, 18, and Angelo Crooms, 16, who the sheriff said was the driver. These are the types of incidents a well-trained AG motivated by a desire to unearth the truth will be Godsend for the Black community.