PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release. 04/23/2021
PUBLIC CONTACT: The Mid Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America 

In the effort to reduce our community members’ interactions with police and to avoid burdensome fines or worse, the Mid Hudson Valley DSA has provided a host of Brake Light Clinics across the region. Whether in Newburgh, Kingston, or Poughkeepsie, our volunteers have engaged with folks and helped them fix broken tail lights at no charge, and have got them back on the road safely without fear of being targeted for a minor infraction.

Vehicle defects are the top reason a motorist is pulled over in the City of Middletown: tickets for vehicle equipment violations outpaced speeding tickets 5,281 to 2,841 during 2016-2019. Middletown ranked 4th in the number of tickets issued in Orange County for such tickets. At best, a traffic stop is a nuisance for the individual and a way for under-taxed municipalities to generate revenue. However, the racial disparity in these types of traffic stops is well-documented, and far too often we observe these small traffic infractions are used as pretext for unwarranted searches, harassment, and the continued violence toward our Black and brown community members.  

While our previous brake light clinics have operated with community support and success, we are disheartened to announce that our efforts in Middletown have been hindered by an unnecessarily complex and prohibitive process, as all automobile maintenance is restricted to private property. When a city makes it harder for working and low-income families to get their brake lights changed, it leaves them subject to dangerous police stops. In fact, our clinic getting canceled is a symptom of the same problem as that of people getting pulled over for brake lights: governments passing unnecessary laws that are unevenly applied, and then charging the police with enforcing them, with unjust and sometimes disastrous results.

Continuing with this event would endanger the very communities we are trying to protect, and so we have decided to postpone our Brake Light Clinic that was scheduled for this weekend, April 24, in the City of Middletown

We hope we can work with the City of Middletown to find a site to help our community members. We will announce the new date as soon as we can.

OC Progress
Mid Hudson Valley DSA