Incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's first meeting with community organizers and advocates took place Thurs., Dec. 12. The advocates called Bratton's attention to the policies and behaviors that have been found to be discriminatory in their purpose or implementation, from stop-and-frisk to the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program.
According to a source familiar with the meeting, Communities United for Police Reform will be releasing a set of policy recommendations on Monday based on issues discussed with Bratton during the meeting. The recommendations aim to keep focus on Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio's campaign promises of transparency and accountability, even citing reports issued by the mayor-elect in his position as Public Advocate.
Their recommendations range from pushing for changes in police behavior to increasing institutional transparency and compliance with recent City Council legislation and federal court rulings.
Their recommendations will highlight the so-called "quota system" that police union leaders have said encourages officers to engage in excessive enforcement behavior, including conducting unwarranted stops. Some have expressed concern that the imperative to keep crime down will cause de Blasio's commitment to squashing any "quota system" to waver.
And they will not only urge Bratton, and the de Blasio administration, to drop the appeal of the Floyd v. City of New York decision declaring the NYPD's implementation of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, but they will ask that the NYPD and the city actively support implementation of the remedies issued with the Floyd decision, as well as the reforms in the City Council's Community Safety Act laws.
Advocates also hope Bratton will help push along two Community Safety Act bills that have yet to be passed: one to require officers to inform New Yorkers with a Miranda-like warning of their right to refuse a search; and another to require officers to not only identify themselves as NYPD when engaging in police behavior, but also to explain the reason for whatever action they're taking and provide information how to file a complaint or commend officers for courteous or professional behavior.
Bratton was also reportedly reminded of a failing grade then-Public-Advocate Bill de Blasio doled out to the NYPD on a "Transparency Report Card" in April. The only other agency to receive an "F" from the Public Advocate was the New York City Housing Authority.
De Blasio's criticism was at the time based on reports of the NYPD failing to obey Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests and make records public. Based on the Thursday night meeting with Bratton, advocates plan to encourage him to keep the NYPD on task with complying promptly and consistently with FOIL, the Open Meetings Law and the Open Data Law.
The community organizers also reportedly plan to advise Bratton to continue to cut down on costly low-level arrests and summonses, such as those for possession for small amounts of marijuana. While such arrests have reportedly been on the decline in recent years, black and Latino New Yorkers are still disproportionately affected by them.
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