Advocates propose priorities for new NYPD watchdog

On Monday, the coalition group Communities United for Police Reform laid out nine priorities for the first-ever NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure, whose first day on the job was May 27. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
On Monday, the coalition group Communities United for Police Reform laid out nine priorities for the first-ever NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure, whose first day on the job was May 27.
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The new watchdog for the New York City Police Department hasn’t been on the job for a week and calls for investigations into the NYPD are already stacking up.

On Monday, the coalition group Communities United for Police Reform — which played a role drafting and promoting the 2013 bill that created the oversight office — laid out nine priorities for the first-ever NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure, whose first day on the job was May 27.

Among the recommendations are investigations into what the group describes as unlawful searches of in arrests related to marijuana and condom possession, as well as excessive or deadly force by officers. The report also asks the inspector general to look into the NYPD’s ongoing surveillance of Muslim communities and how it disciplines officers in cases of misconduct.

However, the lack of concrete data on many of those issues is of concern for Candis Tolliver, an assistant advocacy director with the New York Civil Liberties Union, a member group with Communities United for Police Reform. After years of legal battles, NYCLU secured statistics on stop-and-frisk that helped lawmakers pass the inspector general bill.

Tolliver said numbers on summonses given for low-level, non-violent offenses offenses, such as open container violations or riding bicycles on sidewalks or marijuana possession in small amounts, would help get a better look at the impact of law enforcement beyond just lower crime rates.

“That information is necessary to understand what is happening, who it’s happening to and what effect certain polices are having on communities,” she said. “The problem right now is we just don’t have that information.”

The 20-page report calls on the inspector general to look into those unreported numbers. It also includes one priority that specifically questions the Police Department’s record on transparency, requesting an audit of the NYPD’s compliance with the state’s Freedom of Information Law, whereby individuals can request administrative records.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

The report cites then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s 2013 report criticizing the Bloomberg administration’s compliance with the law, failing the NYPD’s record.

“I am not a lawyer. There are lawyers who do this with great care and I’m sure they followed the appropriate rules,” de Blasio told reporters in April in response to questions about repeated FOIL requests on the arrest and immediate release of a political ally.

But the impetus of both the report and the inspector general, said Monifa Bandele of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, is to create transparency and accountability within NYPD outside of One Police Plaza.

“The idea is for there to be accountability that functions in a way that it doesn’t matter who’s in positions of power,” Bandele said.

Bandele, whose group is also a member of the reform group, said advocates remain hopeful Eure will operate free of political concerns and influences while also working objectively and cooperatively with the public.

Doing so, she added, will help communities both stay secure and feel safe.

“We want what everyone wants — we want a safe community,” she added. “I want my community to feel safe just as much as anybody in any neighborhood.”

Last week, the inspector general’s office received its first complaint from an activist group that undercover officers with NYPD’s Intelligence Division infiltrated various political activist groups.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…