Racial Inequity And The Criminal Justice System In New York City: A Zoom Talk By Attorney Ryan Budhu

After the killings, the protests and now the election, where does America go from here?  Beyond policing, will the next president tackle the causes of inequality – in housing, education, health care and wealth creation?

Following the death of his brother in police custody, attorney Ryan Budhu of the international law firm Arnold & Porter, has advised the City of New York on race relations and policing.  He also does pro bono work for inmates on death row.

On 12 November 2020, as part of our American Crisis campaign, Lewes Amnesty Group hosted a public discussion on with Mr Budhu about his work and how he sees the future.  He described the ways that “zero tolerance” and “stop and search” laws combined to drag huge numbers of minority citizens into the criminal justice system and how laws that are broken by minorities are likely to carry much harsher sentences than similar laws likely to be broken by whites.

Mr. Budhu also described the impact of COVID-19 on minority households, many dependent on work that faces the public with no alternative but to keep working when white collar workers can work from home.

In our question period afterwards, we also discussed the phrase “Defund the Police” – whether it has proved counter-productive or has raised awareness that America is over-reliant on police when what it needs are social workers, or just less racism in areas like housing and education.

Amnesty USA has actively campaigning on policing for years:
Click here to take action

And here the Marshall Project – a non-profit organisation for criminal justice journalism – examine what the Biden administration might do:
Click here to read the report