The Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defender Services joined with other defender organizations, community advocates, stakeholders and elected officials this week calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation that would treat folding knives as work tools, not weapons. The bill (S6483A/A9042A) is sponsored by Diane Savino in the New York State Senate and Dan Quart in the Assembly.
Every year, the NYPD arrests thousands of construction workers, electricians, custodians, stagehands, handymen and chefs for possessing common folding knives that are sold at major retailers across the city and state. Close to 90 percent of those arrested are Black or Latino. The Legislature exempted folding knives from prosecution under the gravity knife statute.
The bill was passed by the state Senate and Assembly in June and will soon be sent to the governor’s office for consideration.
The Legal Aid Society and BDS have worked closely with other local organizations on this issue, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, JustLeadership USA, the Urban Justice Center and the Katal Center.