As council mulls NYPD inspector general, de Blasio calls for one ‘with teeth’ (UPDATE)
The City Council may pass legislation requiring the NYPD to have an inspector general, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said today.
Quinn said the Council is negotiating legislation regarding cops’ interaction with New Yorkers, including reaching “broad agreement” on the proposal of an inspector general.
“We’re in ongoing negotiations on several significant proposals that will work to improve police-community relations throughout our city,” she said in a statement this afternoon.
Public Advocate Bill De Blasio held a press conference Tuesday to press the Council on details that he said should be included in the legislation.
The Community Safety Act would require the NYPD to have an independent monitor, someone to review the department’s actions.
The NYPD needs “an inspector general with teeth,” de Blasio said in a letter sent to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Tuesday.
In the letter, he noted that advocates reported the NYPD’s five millionth stop-and-frisk last week. The department is facing a trial that began this week about the stop-and-frisk practice.
“These two milestones are closely linked — with the overuse and misuse of its stop-and-frisk policy, the NYPD has risked department policy being set by judicial decree,” he wrote in the letter. “That is no way for a government agency to operate.”
An inspector general would specifically help reform the stop-and-frisk program, he said.
De Blasio said any appointed inspector general needs an independent budget and subpoena powers. Without those, a court ruling could limit his powers, he said.
“We have seen this movie before — assurances that reform is on the way only to see the council substitute a half-measure for true change,” he said at the conference. “This time must be different.”
The NYPD has been criticized for recent practices like stop-and-frisk and its surveillance of Muslims in and around New York City.
The NYPD’s top spokesman told Metro the suggestion of an inspector general was “wasteful and duplicative.”