Community Safety Act still needed despite stop-and-frisk ruling, councilman says

Councilmembers Jumaane WIlliams and Brad Lander before both the profiling bill and the inspector general bill passed with veto-proof majorities. Credit: William Alatriste
Councilmembers Jumaane WIlliams and Brad Lander before both the profiling bill and the inspector general bill passed with veto-proof majorities. Credit: William Alatriste

Councilman Brad Lander, who along with Councilman Jumaane Williams spearheaded the Community Safety Act, the two controversial NYPD-related City Council bills, lauded today’s court decision ruling stop-and-frisk unconstitutional but said the City Council bills are still very much needed.

The bills would institute broader and more stringer regulations against bias-based profiling and install an inspector general with sweeping oversight of the NYPD.

Lander hailed Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling as “a strong affirmation of our campaign to end discriminatory policing in New York City” and said the council bills “will complement the stop-and-frisk monitor” that Scheindlin ordered in her ruling.

Scheindlin’s court-ordered monitor “will be narrowly focused on stop-and-frisk,” Lander explained. “The inspector general will be looking at a broad range of programs,” including the allegations of a quota system encouraging cops to engage in unnecessary stops and seizures.

“It’s a pretty clear demarcation of responsibility,” Lander said. “I think they’ll be able to work together.”

Lander noted the inspector general won’t be able to enforce the recommendations he or she makes, as Scheindlin’s court-appointed monitor will.

“The whole idea of an inspector general is you find problems and make recommendations, and the [police] commissioner and the mayor can resolve those problems long before you have to go to court,” Lander said, explaining the legal distinction between Scheindlin’s monitor and the inspector general he and Williams have proposed. “An inspector general doesn’t have power, an inspector general can’t compel changes.”

Lander said the anti-profiling bill is also badly needed, as stop-and-frisk is only “one [police] practice in which profiling is evident.”

Lander cited a recent study that showed African-Americans in Brooklyn and Manhattan are nine times as likely to be arrested for marijuana, as well as allegations of abuse of transgender New Yorkers at the hands of NYPD officers.

“Fortunately there won’t need to be a lawsuit about stop-and-frisk,” Lander said. “But there are a range of other forms of discriminatory policing.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed both bills after their late-night passage in the City Council, but because each bill had the minimum number of votes needed to override the mayor’s veto, such an override is expected when the council votes again later this month.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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