The Rev. Al Sharpton slammed the police sergeants union for its $500 reward program for regular New Yorkers as an “attempt to exacerbate vigilante violence against black and brown people.”

Sharpton, the civil rights leader, launched the broadside on Instagram Thursday afternoon against the Sergeants Benevolent Association program to reward folks who jump in and help police officers make arrests.

“This attempt to exacerbate vigilante violence against black and brown people and now monetarily incentivize that violence is unconscionable,” Sharpton said in the statement.

He also slammed state Sen. Martin Golden’s proposal to make it harder to sue people who make citizen’s arrests.

“Golden’s attempt to codify this regressive legislation that resembles some of this country’s most shameful Jim Crow laws, is despicable and will be fought at every measure,” Sharpton said. “We are emboldened to act and resist this blatant and poorly veiled attempt to devalue the lives of black and brown people and put them into the hands of civilians.”

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Ed Mullins, the head of the SBA, responded, “Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts as is Al Sharpton. However, I’m not sure what he is thinking. As I stated in the press conference the SBA is committed to bringing people to a table and working toward solutions for a better and safer city.”

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On Wednesday, Mullins touted the program with video screen containing messages that read, “Attacks on police are attacks on all of us,” and, “Put down your camera and become good samaritan.”

“This legislation is certainly not discriminatory, it’s on the side of all government employees and those who would come to their aid,” Golden said of the Public Employee Good Samaritan Bill. “There is currently a loophole, which the bill closes, that leaves liable for damages someone coming to the aid of a government employee in danger of physical harm.”


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