News | West Harlem

‘Clean Slate’ event offers amnesty from minor offenses to Harlem residents

  • Emily Miller for Spectator
    Amnesty | An event in Harlem last weekend offered locals a chance to receive free legal help and clear minor offenses from their records.

Harlem residents who had been summoned to court for small offenses like littering or disorderly conduct had a chance to clear their records at an event last Saturday, which organizers said would prevent minor summonses from ruining offenders’ job prospects or causing their arrests.

The event, known as “Clean Slate,” was the third event of its kind in New York City and the first one in Manhattan.   

“A lot of the time, they are afraid to go down to the police to get it straightened out because they could get arrested, or they are afraid to work because of their record,” Derrick Haynes, a local non-violence advocate, said in an interview before the event. “It’s a good thing that they can get it taken care of.”

At the event, at the Soul Saving Station Church at West 124th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, locals could clear their records of minor offenses or receive free legal advice from lawyers, without fear of arrest.   

The event was organized by the Manhattan District Attorney, the Office of Court Administration, and the Legal Aid Society.

“Open warrants can affect the warrant holder’s immigration status and even his or her ability to get a job or enlist in the armed forces,” said District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. at a press conference last week for the event.

Minor offenses can become serious problems if the accused do not come to court on the dates assigned to them, according to Vance. Forgotten fines can result in an open warrant for arrest.  

Although one of the key promises of this event was that attendees would not be arrested, some attendees said that they were suspicious of its intentions.

“My brother told me I shouldn’t even come down here today,” said one attendee, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of arrest. “He said it might be a trap, and they might arrest me anyway.”  

The event comes as the city continues to respond to ongoing nationwide protests of police brutality and racial inequality in law enforcement.

Last summer, the NYPD implemented “community policing” programs in four precincts, including two in Upper Manhattan. By integrating into the community, officers are able to stop criminal activity sooner and solve other problems in the community before they escalate.

According to Haynes, especially in Harlem, there is a lot of mistrust between police and community members.  

“The relationship between the police and Harlem is really bad right now,” Haynes said. “But this is a good thing. I am happy to see the DA’s office do something positive.”

Haynes said that amnesty events are a step in the right direction, but added that he wants to continue to see the police make a greater effort to rebuild relationships with the public.  

“This needs to be a more-than-one-day event,” Haynes said. “It needs to be more consistent, like twice a year. Young men and women need to be able to call the police and make an appointment to get their record expunged and get it taken care of.”

Coordinators of “Clean Slate” used the event to promote other social programs and services.

Seson Adams, a volunteer for New York City public advocate Letitia “Tish” James, said that giving residents a fresh start in the legal system and educating them about available resources can improve their lives and relations between individuals and the community.

“People don’t only leave with a clean slate, but also with resources and a new knowledge of services available to them,” he said.

emily.miller@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

Comments

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Your username will not be displayed if checked
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
gwen posted on

to the erin burnett some cbs anchor otis livingston had racial views about erin burnett calling mr. burnett white sissy, weak in business. stupid jew, and unprosesional in everything he does. otis livingston is dangerous man peaople mus stay away from him.

+1
+3
-1
dragon city hack posted on

Now it will become much easier to play dragon city after getting the dragon city hack and all the players will be able to get all the resources for this game.

+1
-2
-1
Anonymous posted on

YIFY movie is the most popular torrent movie download website available for all the users around the world.
yify movie

+1
-1
-1
Jessica posted on

After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: spiritualherbalisthealing@gmail.com or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

+1
0
-1
192.168 l.254 ip address router login posted on

Many homework on the continual hunt along with offstage on the road to winning. Definitely not attached, simple to-fall as a result of wayside; And not investigation, afterward into a path travel toward the black. 192.168 l.254 ip address router login

+1
-1
-1
Silver Bailey posted on

I must say 2016 & 2017 was the years of me trying so hard beyond many desperate measures to gain back love, trust and happiness from my better half after he left. After trying so hard beyond desperate measures to unite with my husband throughout the years, I became confused, frustrated for all the goals, hopes and ardent wishes of uniting my family. I thought maybe he is not really meant for me.
Unfortunately, I almost accepted my fate before meeting dr. Wakina sometimes in January 2018 through: dr.wakinalovetemple@gmail.com to also become part of my life journey. With little or no fate, I pleaded and begged ardently for spiritual guidance and help he has been rendering to his numerous followers. Just as I pleaded, my request was accorded, my husband came back the exact date and time he predicted after the love spell.
Now I realize that I can have everything through spiritual doctor like Wakina. Wakina was an eye opener after uniting my family. My destiny, goals, hopes, family were established through him and his powerful love spell.

+1
+1
-1