Erik McGregor Photography

Erik McGregor is a New York City based artist, photographer and activist.

Stop the Stigma, Stop the Criminalization: Rally to Support Bail Reform and Stop HIV Stigma and Misinformation from CBS NY and Port Authority Police Department (PAPD)

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

NEW YORK, NY – On January 10, 2020 a number of HIV services of organizations such as ACT UP NY, Bailey House, GMHC, Housing Works, VOCAL-NY and activists held a rally at noon in front of the CBS Headquarters in New York to demand accountability for the stigmatizing coverage. Activists are also demanding more information from the Port Authority Police Department and the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

Late on Wednesday, CBS New York published a stigmatizing article and social media post about a recent arrest and altercation with Port Authority Police at LaGuardia Airport that inappropriately stigmatized HIV and promoted misinformation and fear of HIV transmission via saliva. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), HIV is not transmittable by saliva and this fact has been known for decades.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

The person who was arrested on suspicion of larceny LaGuardia Airport on Monday is described in the article as fighting and spitting at a Port Authority police officer and disclosing that they are HIV positive. No physical injuries to the police officer were described and no weapons were described. The person being arrested was charged with criminal mischief and assault in the second degree, which can refer to assault with a deadly weapon or assault with “intent to cause serious injury to someone.” HIV groups are making inquiries to the Queens District Attorney to determine if this is an HIV criminalization prosecution in which someone’s HIV status is being used to increase charges, despite no risk of transmission.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

The person who was arrested on suspicion of larceny at LaGuardia Airport on Monday is described in the article as fighting and spitting at a Port Authority police officer and disclosing that they are HIV positive. No physical injuries to the police officer were described and no weapons were described. The person being arrested was charged with criminal mischief and assault in the second degree, which can refer to assault with a deadly weapon or assault with “intent to cause serious injury to someone.” HIV groups are making inquiries to the Queens District Attorney to determine if this is an HIV criminalization prosecution in which someone’s HIV status is being used to increase charges, despite no risk of transmission.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

In the article, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association President Paul Nunziato is quoted using scientifically inaccurate language about transmission of HIV via saliva to argue against NY efforts to implement bail reform. The cash bail system disproportionately targets and Black and brown New Yorkers and criminalizes poverty, and the New York State legislature recently signed into law a package of criminal justice reforms including the elimination of cash bail for most non-violent crimes. However, efforts are now being made by some media outlets and law enforcement representatives to promote sensationalistic stories in order to frighten the public and pressure lawmakers to roll back reforms.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

The initial version of the CBS New York article did not include accurate information about HIV transmission, but after push-back from HIV activists from ACT UP, GMHC, Housing Works and VOCAL on social media, CBS New York added a paragraph citing the National Institutes of Health, but did not retract other stigmatizing and misleading components of the article. The article also does not mention post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), an extremely effective HIV-prevention regimen that can be taken soon after potential exposure to HIV. PEP is available to police, medical workers, and the public, and the City even has a hotline to help people quickly access PEP.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

CBS News released the following statement in an article that ran yesterday in Gay City News: “This online story should not have been published. It does not meet our journalistic standards, nor does it reflect our core values. The person who wrote and published the story and social media post failed to review the copy with our news managers. This individual is no longer employed by CBS New York.”

Rally to Support Bail Reform and Stop HIV Stigma

© Erik McGregor – erikrivas@hotmail.com – 917-225-8963

PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING MY WORK

Next Post

Previous Post

Leave a Reply

© 2020 Erik McGregor Photography

Theme by Anders Norén