New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
New York State Senator Mike Gianaris (12, D) speaking to the “Greek News said that the police violence that killed George Zapantis – and that continues to victimize too many Americans – is unacceptable and those involved must be held accountable.
“The NYPD is not equipped to respond to people with mental health issues and should not be responsible for doing so”, Gianaris told the Greek News.
“This job would be better performed by qualified professionals who can address these issues more appropriately with the compassion they deserve. Until we reimagine the role of police in our society, more tragedies like this are likely. We must make changes.”
New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides (District 22) in a statement he issued on the death of George Zapantis shortly after being taken into police custody, said he mourns his death with his fellow Greek Americans.
“The facts of this case are still unfolding, but what we know already is deeply troubling. There must be a full, transparent and independent investigation as to what happened. While that’s underway, we must have a serious conversation about the reasons why New Yorkers like George Zapantis, who reportedly had a history of mental health issues, died during an arrest.”
Costa Constantinidis points out the sad history of deploying police to deal with issues that should be handled by trained mental health professionals.
“Police should be the absolute last option in these situations. As we have a bigger discussion around reforms to police training, funding and procedures, there must be a deep look at how we treat emotionally disturbed people. As we hopefully divert $1 billion from the NYPD’s existing budget into social services, that must include supporting trained mental health professionals who can be our first line of response alongside EMTs. We owe that to our fellow New Yorkers who have been left behind for too long.”
New York City Council voted on Tuesday to divert $1 billion from NYPD’s budget into social services.
State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (republican candidate for U.S. Congress) didn’t issue a statement on George Zapantis’ tragic death in the hands of the Police. Malliotakis who takes pride as a strong “law and order conservative”) also didn’t march with Archbishop Elpidophoros in Brooklyn, at a BLM rally. On Tuesday, she called the NYC Council “idiotic” for voting to divert 1 billion from NYPD to social services, claiming falsely that the “cut is enough to completely eliminate the NYPD’s anti-terrorism efforts until the year 2026.”
Most of the anti-terrorist NYPD ;efforts are funded by special federal funds for Homeland Security.