NY criminal justice bill to be named after Michael K. Williams

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NY criminal justice bill to be named after Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams’ legacy may live on forever in his hometown of New York — thanks to a new criminal justice reform bill.

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D-Brooklyn) is working on legislation aimed at curbing the state’s incarceration rates in honor of the late actor, who grew up in her district.

“The Michael K. Williams bill will serve to reduce mass incarceration, which disproportionately hurts people of color and costs tax payers millions of dollars,” Hermelyn told The Post in a statement.

The five-time Emmy nominee, who died Monday at 54, used his fame as a platform to speak out about prison reform, including as the American Civil Liberties Union’s “ambassador for ending mass incarceration.”

“This was Michael’s mission, and in New York State, we can and must do better,” Hermelyn said. “We will keep our communities safe and reduce racist policies that have led to America’s for-profit criminal justice system.”

Hermelyn, the Brooklyn Democratic Party chair, told TMZ, which first reported on the bill, that she was planning on meeting with Williams’ family to discuss the law in his honor when the time is right.

She said she was working with the ACLU to craft the legislation. New York State Sen. Kevin Parker will carry the bill in the Senate.

It’s not guaranteed the bill will pass, however. There’s been a backlash against some of New York’s criminal justice reform measures, with state lawmakers coming under fire from law enforcement over the law that eliminated cash bail for many crimes and put defendants with rap sheets back out on the streets.

The issue of mass incarceration was personal for Williams, an East Flatbush native, who spoke out about having relatives in the system, including his nephew, Dominic Dupont.

Dominic Dupont (L) and Michael K. Williams attend the "Raised In The System" Pre-Screening at the Whitby Hotel
Dominic Dupont (L) and Michael K. Williams attend the “Raised In The System” Pre-Screening at the Whitby Hotel in 2018.
WireImage
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is working on legislation aimed at curbing the state’s incarceration rates in honor of Michael K. Williams.
Alamy Stock Photo

Dupont — who was convicted of murder at age 19 and served 20 years of a 25-to-life sentence before it was commuted by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017 — told The Post Tuesday that his uncle was “instrumental” in getting him through the prison experience.

The two worked together on the nonprofit Williams founded, Making Kids Win, which provides opportunities to city teens who are at risk of getting involved in gun violence.

The activist actor also backed the work of yet another anti-violence youth nonprofit, NYC Together, and was outspoken about police reform.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday that he met with Williams earlier this year to discuss efforts to “collaborate” with the NYPD but did not divulge any details.

Prior to his tragic death, Hermelyn said Williams had been working with her husband, Crown Heights District Leader Edu Hermelyn, and his “The Wire” co-star Jamie Hector on a back-to-school event to distribute supplies to kids in Flatbush.

The Sunday giveaway will now become an annual event in honor of Williams, according to TMZ.

“The East Flatbush community mourns Michael, a true hero,” Hermelyn told The Post.

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