This afternoon, Progressive Caucus members stood with Council Member Jumaane Williams and a coalition of advocates to launch a landmark legislative effort to increase NYPD accountability and improve policing for all New Yorkers, especially those in currently disparately affected communities.
Council Members expressed concern about the NYPD’s growing reliance on stop-and-frisk tactics and the impact of this practice on communities of color. In 2002, the NYPD made approximately 97,000 stops. By 2010, the number of stops had increased to more than 601,000. Black and Latino New Yorkers face the brunt of this practice and consistently represent more than 80 percent of people stopped despite representing just over 50 percent of the city’s population. Moreover, stop-and-frisk practices have not increased public safety, as year-after-year nearly 90 percent of individuals stopped are neither arrested nor issued a summons. Bias-based profiling by the police alienates communities from law enforcement, violates New Yorkers’ rights and freedoms, and is a danger to public safety.
Council Member Williams introduced three bills at today’s City Council Stated Meeting, which will have public hearings before they brought back before the Council for a vote.
These bills would reform current police practices by:
1. Prohibiting bias-based profiling by law enforcement officers that relies, to any degree, on actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration or citizenship status, language, disability (including HIV status), housing status, occupation, or socioeconomic status.
2. Requiring law enforcement officers to identify themselves and the reason for questioning, and present a business card at the end of the encounter which will identify the name, rank, and command of the officer, and a phone number for the Civilian Complaint Review Board that the subject of the law enforcement activity may use to submit comments or complaints about the encounter.
3. Requiring law enforcement officers to provide notice and obtain written or recorded proof of consent to search individuals. Many New Yorkers are unaware of their constitutional right to privacy when interacting with law enforcement officers.
The Progressive Caucus is proud to support Council Member Williams and the coalition of advocates who have been fighting for these crucial reforms.
Visit changethenypd.org to stay in the loop about grassroots efforts to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and check back on this blog over the coming weeks to check in on the progress of this landmark legislative effort!