Many in Orleans reject anything by Cuomo, even when it’s a good idea, including new ‘Right to Monitor Act’

Posted 15 June 2020 at 8:35 am


On June 14, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order, deemed “New Yorker’s Right to Monitor Act.” It was covered here on the Hub, but just to reiterate, it reaffirms the right of citizens to record law enforcement officers and to keep these recordings.

When I listened to the way this Executive Order was received, I was appalled. I think many felt the same. There were complaints about how Governor Cuomo went about this; every opinion I’d viewed or listened to was critical of his action.

Considering the catalyst of Cuomo’s Order – the unjust, systemically-prompted death of countless Black individuals – the right of citizens to record encounters with police officers is fundamental and completely necessary.

Black people are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement, consciously or not. That should set off alarm bells and warning signs in everyone’s head, and everyone should be willing to explore any means necessary, including this EO, to repair this very real systemic racism.

Video recordings of law enforcement are in no way an infringement of officers’ freedom; this Order is intended to verify and speak in plain words the right to sustain life for oneself and acquire justice because, for some, especially Black individuals, an encounter with the police could be a matter of death.

A “few bad apples” are products of the system that is designed to over-police and criminalize human beings based upon skin color. This severe fault in the system needs to be fixed.

Right now, all I can do to fight the issue of police brutality is to educate myself and use my words to act. I’m not yet old enough to vote, and that scares me. It scares a lot of my peers to think about how a great deal of the eligible voters are either apathetic or actively against the uplift of marginalized peoples. (We will be eligible in a couple of years, but those are two years of action lost for us.)

Reactions to this EO is pretty representative of what we usually see from Orleans County residents: “Anything Cuomo does is reprehensible,” and it’s left at that.

As a young person, this partisan game that we all seem to be playing is unacceptable. This isn’t an opportunity to criticize liberal minds like the Governor. This is an opportunity to reflect and to learn, and that means not jumping to say that reaffirming a civil liberty is an overreach.

Every last one of us exhibits biases, and I urge you to see past them in this moment and forward.

Ashley Ames