Statement On CM Ritchie Torres Arrest Protesting President Trump’s Proposed Federal Housing Cuts

“Last Thursday Councilman Ritchie Torres was arrested on the charge of civil disobedience at a protest. While it is commendable to join together with other organizations to fight the unfair proposed housing cuts, it is somewhat disturbing to see him smiling while being escorted by police. Taking a stroll in my neighborhood, there are many times where minorities (usually young men of color) are being stopped and frisked or detained in the street. This is something that happens every single day at an alarming rate. None of those people are smiling. They are all overwhelmed with anger, shame, confusion, and helplessness. This is not to say that all arrests are unjustified but it is to say that many in this district are because taking a stroll in another district does not have the same sight. While being arrested for civil disobedience can be a symbol for taking a powerful stand in what a person believes in, it is simply a photo opportunity for a politician. The reason he can smile is because he knows that he will be released very soon with no charges filed. He knows that he will not be stuck in a cell, have to face the daunting task of trying to make bail, understand his legal rights, or scramble to find legal representation. He is a free man and was well aware of that fact while being arrested for the camera. All of this shows how out of touch Torres is with the realities that his constituents face.”

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