A.G. Schneiderman Requests Executive Order To Restore Public Confidence In Criminal Justice System

Broad Coalition Calls On Governor To Act Immediately

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today was joined by a broad coalition of elected officials in outlining an immediate first step toward restoring public trust and confidence in the fairness of reviews of cases involving unarmed civilians killed by law enforcement officers.  In a letter sent to Governor Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman formally requested that the Governor immediately issue an interim executive order now directing the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute cases involving unarmed civilians killed by police officers. 

While several proposals for reforming the criminal justice system are expected to be considered when the State Legislature reconvenes, the Attorney General noted the urgent need for immediate action to restore public trust in the outcome of  cases involving unarmed civilians killed by law enforcement officers by ensuring these cases receive a thorough, impartial and independent review. The proposed order would be drafted to expire when the Legislature acts to permanently address this problem. Continue reading

An Open Letter From Mayor DeBlasio : The City We Need To Be

Letter from Mayor de Blasio: The city we need to be

December 4, 2014

Fellow New Yorkers:

Eric Garner’s death was a terrible tragedy that no family should have to endure. For many across our city and our nation, yesterday’s grand jury ruling compounds feelings of grief with dissatisfaction and anger.

As we reflect on the weeks leading up to yesterday’s decision and prepare our path forward, I want to share a snapshot of our short- and long-term plans to improve the relationship between police and the communities they serve.

First, this is not the end of the story — only the end of a chapter. The NYPD and the Justice Department will initiate their own investigations.

Second, New York City owns a proud and powerful tradition of expression through non-violent protest. Demonstrations and free speech are valuable contributions to debate, but violence and disorder are not only wrong — they are counterproductive.

Frustration is understandable. Centuries of racism precede us. But working together, we can turn from that history and make a profound and lasting change in the culture of law enforcement and bring police and community closer together.

We’ve already begun to make progress.

We’ve dramatically reduced the overuse and abuse of stop-and-frisk, initiated a comprehensive plan to retrain the entire NYPD to reduce the use of excessive force and to work with the community, reduced arrests for minor marijuana possession, and given officers body cameras to improve transparency and accountability.

And we know there is much more to be done.

Finally, in recent weeks, protesters and activists have adopted a phrase that should never have to be said, but that the stains on our country’s history demand we say: Black Lives Matter.

When invoking this refrain, we must be mindful that issues surrounding policing and civil rights are not just an issue for people of color, they’re not just a problem for young people, and they’re not just a problem for people who get stopped by police. They’re a problem for all Americans who care about justice.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Together, we must work to make this right, to work for justice, and to build the kind of city and the kind of country we need to be. And we will.

Thank you,

Bill de Blasio
Mayor

City Hospitals Remind NYers to Get Tested For HIV/AIDS

New Yorkers Reminded to Get Tested

To honor World AIDS Day on Monday, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is reminding New Yorkers to prioritize their health by getting an HIV test. According to health officials, 1 in 5 New Yorkers who are HIV positive don’t know their status. As the State’s largest provider of HIV primary care, HHC hospitals and health centers have tested more than 1.6 million people since 2005, made more than 14,000 HIV diagnoses, and have connected thousands of patients to the care they need. HHC makes HIV testing part of routine medical care by offering tests in emergency rooms, in-patient units and community-based health centers throughout the five boroughs.

“For more than 30 years, HHC has been a recognized leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and continues to advance our understanding of the HIV epidemic,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “We continually work on improving HIV screening services and to providing specialized and culturally competent HIV care to patients, so together we can better manage their long-term health and limit transmission throughout the community.” Continue reading

Launching its First Document Digitization Project, City’s Records Department Publishes Online 17th Century ‘New Amsterdam’ Historical Manuscripts

As the first step in its efforts to digitize and make available to the public the historical records of New York City government, the City’s Department of Records and Information Services (DoRIS) announced that it is releasing its first online collection of 17th Century historical manuscripts, showing the early development of the City’s government: ordinances drawn from the Records of New Amsterdam for the period of 1647 to 1661, and their corresponding translations, maintained by the Municipal Archives and Municipal Library.

“The Archives will expand the galleries to include early documents granting land to settlers in Brooklyn and Queens, maps, and other primary resources,” said Municipal Archivist Sylvia Kollar. “During the next year, we plan to share more of the collections and finding aids online.” Continue reading

A.G. Schneiderman Issues Online Shopping Tips In Advance Of ‘Cyber Monday’

Schneiderman: As Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off, Online Shoppers Should Be Wary Of Scams And Insecure Websites

 In advance of Cyber Monday – consistently one of the most popular days of the year for online shopping – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued tips for consumers who plan to shop online.  Last year, consumers spent almost a record $2.29 billion on Cyber Monday, and sales are expected to exceed that this year. Unfortunately, not all advertised deals are what they claim to be, and some websites may be fake or tools for scammers.

“As the holiday shopping season kicks off and more consumers plan to shop online, there are simple steps you can take to avoid scams and protect your personal data,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Consumers should know how to spot fake websites and deals that are too good to be true.”

In an effort to help consumers shop safely online, Attorney General Schneiderman issued the following tips:

  • Shop only on secure Internet connections: Do not conduct any transaction that involves personal, financial or credit card information while using an open and unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Unsecured connections are common in public spaces such as transportation hubs, municipal hotspots, and in stores and coffee shops. Be careful not to shop, conduct business, or send sensitive or personal information out on these networks because identity thieves often stake out open networks seeking victims. Shopping and other activities that involve sensitive information may be performed safely on password-protected wireless networks, virtual private networks (VPN), or on hardwired Internet connections.
  • Only process payment on HTTPS web pages: When entering payment information online you should verify that HTTPS is in your address bar to protect yourself from identity thieves and cyber criminals. URLs that begin with https:// instead of the standard http:// are secured by SSL, an internet security protocol. Web pages served over SSL help protect you by encrypting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, during the transaction.
  • Do not be tricked by confusingly similar website and domain names: Pay particular attention to your retailer’s URL when shopping online. Scammers use variants of a known company’s Internet address to try and lure users into visiting fake websites. They often target users through email or social media.  Avoid clicking on links from email or social media sites.  Watch out for websites with URLs that differ slightly from those of legitimate online retailers, and also links that appear genuine but direct your browser to a completely different URL. To ensure safe shopping online type the URL of your desired retailer directly into your web browser — and watch for typos.
  • Protect yourself by using credit cards:With the advent of point-of-sale malware and rampant data breaches, identity thieves are now more sophisticated and dangerous than ever. If you are going to make purchases online, you can best protect yourself from the risks of identity theft and fraud by using credit cards. Credit cards generally offer better purchase protection and fraud dispute resolution than other methods of payment. Debit cards link directly to your bank account, potentially threatening your entire account balance.  Some banks also offer temporary credit card numbers with a set purchase maximum, which may be useful for some transactions or some consumers.   Remember that credit cards charge high interest rates so it is best to use credit cards for only those purchases you can afford.
  • Be wary of too-good-to-be-true contests and prize promotions: Consumers should be suspicious of any email, messages, or posts on social networks promoting giveaways or contests that seem too good to be true, e.g., free high-value gift cards, tablets, and smartphones. These “contests” are often scams designed to bilk consumers out of money and/or to collect consumers’ personal information for resale. Genuine sweepstakes and contests are commonplace on the Internet; however, you should avoid any contest or promotion that requires you to pay money or to perform any sort of financial transaction. Also, think twice before participating in promotions that require entrants to register with multiple third-party websites; often these are ploys to build marketing lists. Promotions that require users to provide more than simple contact information may even be phony or run by scammers who resell consumer information to collect referral fees!
  • Read the fine print: Broadly worded promotional offers and advertisements often mislead consumers into paying full price for items they believed were on sale.  Consumers should carefully examine Internet deals by reading any and all fine print in the promotional materials, identifying the exact brand and model number on sale. Consumers should also avoid bait-and-switch advertisements or promotions that lure consumers with basement prices that are not guaranteed to be in stock. Fine print stating that quantities are limited is a tell-tale sign of this bait-and-switch tactic.
  • Watch out for hidden shipping costs: Internet shoppers will undoubtedly find great deals this holiday season. It is common practice for Internet retailers to advertise prices that do not factor in shipping and handling. This makes the Internet retailer’s pricing appear lower than what the consumer will actually pay. This holiday season consumers should be sure to examine all shipping and handling costs before committing to any online purchases. When all costs are considered, what you may have thought was a great Internet deal may be more costly than your local retailer.

Pledging Stronger Public Schools, Mayor de Blasio Announces ‘School Renewal Program’

In a speech before hundreds of parents and community leaders on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the School Renewal Program, a new strategy to turn around New York City’s most challenged schools.

The School Renewal Program will fundamentally change the direction of and accelerate progress in 94 struggling schools, in stark contrast with the old approach of simply closing or phasing out schools. Each Renewal School will transform into a Community School, knitting together new services that support children’s families, as well as their mental health and physical well-being. Each Renewal School will provide an extra hour each day of extended instruction and could offer additional after-school, weekend, and summer learning opportunities, as needed. And each will receive additional resources for academic intervention and professional development to create a better learning environment for students. Continue reading