NYC Community Safety Act Stands

Submitted by ub on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 14:45

NYC Council has spoken loudly and has overridden Mayor Bloomberg's vetoes of two bills aimed at reining in the New York City Police Department's controversial use of stop and frisk.

The mayor was upset after the council passed the Community Safety Act earlier this summer. It sets up the office of the inspector general-- which will act as a watchdog over the NYPD--and makes it easier for New Yorkers to sue if they've been racially profiled by police.

Mayor Mike vetoed both provisions, and vowed to use his own fortune to convince key council members not to override him. He lost and lost big despite his famous bully pulpit.

It was ten days after a US Judge ruled “stop, question and frisk” unconstitutional and racially discriminatory on the part of NYPD. In the jurist's decision on the case of Floyd v. City of New York, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin validated many of the complaints coming from civil rights organizations, grassroots groups and politicians who have rallied against the policy and its destructive effects on low-income communities of color.

But more than a year before, NYC Council members and community advocates were deliberating over policy ideas to address years of corruption in the department.

The result was the Community Safety Act, that the City Council began debating to curb a range of abuses and address other NYPD policy problems before they escalate to the point of federal intervention.

These two bills that passed expand the categories of communities protected from discriminatory policing tactics; establish an enforceable ban on profiling and discrimination by the NYPD; and establish an inspector general to review and report on the policies and practices of the NYPD—a common-sense and urgently needed oversight mechanism that currently exists in all major New York City agencies, as well as other large law enforcement agencies around the country, including the LAPD, the FBI, and the CIA.