Judge Rules Pantaleo Should Be Fired + Cabán Legal Challenge Continues

A note to our readers: The Thorn has switched from Mailchimp to Substack so we can keep delivering you local New York politics news from a socialist perspective with fewer administrative costs. Starting in January 2022 our new issues can be at thethornnyc.substack.com along with how to subscribe. This website will serve as an archive of our past issues.

Local News

  • A police department administrative judge ruled that Officer Daniel Pantaleo should be fired for killing Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold. The ruling comes over five years after Garner’s death.
  • New York City immigration courts have the largest backlog of any city in the country. With 116,828 cases awaiting trial, judges face a quota of 700 cases per year. Additionally, translators are limited, meaning many asylum-seekers must work with translators through the phone.
  • Last Monday, Governor Cuomo signed a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and creating a system to expunge the records of those with certain marijuana convictions. The legislation removes criminal penalties for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. It reduces the penalty for possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine, and imposes a maximum $200 fine for possessing between 1 and 2 ounces. Despite advocates’ efforts, the bill does not legalize marijuana; selling the drug remains a felony and possession is still an arrestable offense, though it will not result in a criminal record.
  • Following a recent increase in bicyclist fatalities and injuries (18 fatalities so far this year), Mayor de Blasio announced a new effort to encourage biking and build a safe cycling infrastructure in the city. Under the plan, the city will spend $58.4 million over the next five years on new bike lanes, redesigned intersections and stepped-up enforcement. The cycling community has long criticised the de Blasio administration for lax enforcement on drivers and insufficient safety measures for cyclists, though some advocates are cautiously optimistic about the plan.
  • The NLRB may make Scabby the Rat illegal.
  • A recent report revealed that the majority of MTA board members are millionaires and only five of the current 14 MTA board members live in New York City, despite the fact that 89% of the MTA’s riders live in the City.
  • Uber launches helicopter service to NYC airports so the 1% don’t have to deal with our crumbling transit infrastructure.


  • The Cabán campaign was in Queens State Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the  Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney. A judge ruled he will only consider opening 28 ballots that have previously been thrown out. The Cabán campaign plans to argue that more should be considered, in the hope that a 60-vote deficit can be erased.
  • Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is rumored to be joining the 2020 race to succeed José Serrano in the Bronx’s 15th Congressional District.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is mobilizing her district’s immigrant population to participate in the 2020 Census amid fears that an undercount will result in a lost Congressional seats.

Contribute to The Thorn

We welcome submissions of in-depth articles, comics and illustrations from anyone in DSA. Whether you want to write for us or just know of stories we should be covering, please get in touch.

Subscribe to The Thorn

The Thorn is a weekly update on what's happening in local New York politics from a socialist perspective. Please sign up with us to receive an email every Monday morning.