Calls to Pass Right to Know Act Police Reforms Grow Louder at Hearing

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Following the FY16 adopted budget in which City Council added 1,300 new positions within the NYPD, community groups and elected officials called for passage of the Right to Know Act at a Council Public Safety Committee hearing on several pieces of policing legislation. Diverse communities throughout New York City have been calling for the Council to demonstrate national leadership by passing the Right to Know Act as common sense legislation that can help protect New Yorkers and improve accountability and transparency in their most common interactions with NYPD officers. Full Release

WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY: 

“All New Yorkers should have the right know who is stopping them and why they are being stopped, and should be able to exercise their right to decline improper searches by police officers when there is no probable cause or other legal justification,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, a lead sponsor of the Right to Know Act. “The upcoming anniversary of Eric Garner’s death brings renewed focus to improving the fractured relationship between communities and the NYPD.  The Right to Know Act, a commonsense package of bills will reinforce best practices around transparency and accountability while upholding basic civil and human rights.  These bills already have strong support in the Council and should be passed into law as swiftly as possible.”

“When Mayor de Blasio announced that the City will be adding 1,300 new officers to the NYPD, he stressed a commitment to improving community-police relations,” said City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, lead sponsor of Intro 541. “Passing the Right-to-Know Act would be a major step toward this commitment, as it would dramatically improve the experience of those who are stopped by the police, who we know are disproportionately young people of color.  Intro 541 will help ensure that all New Yorkers are aware of their right to consent to or refuse a search, in the absence of a legal justification for the search. Most New Yorkers are not aware that they have this constitutional right. Additionally, Intro 182 will require officers to identify themselves and explain the reason for a stop.  These simple changes will empower the public with information, and help avoid unnecessary escalation of police-community interactions.”

“When the Council passed the Community Safety Act in 2013, we worked to make sure that we were advancing both public safety and civil rights. The Right to Know Act is the next legislative step in this important conversation,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “This bill does not attempt to change the legal requirements for a search or a stop, but instead to move forward with the Council’s-ongoing dialogue about improving the relationship between the NYPD and the community. Thanks to Council Member Torres and Reynoso for sponsoring this legislation, and to Speaker Mark-Viverito and Chair Gibson for holding today’s hearing.”

“Every New Yorker deserves to feel that their public safety and civil rights are protected,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader. “That was the mission of the Community Safety Act which I co-sponsored and that passed in 2013, and is the mission of the Right to Know Act, led by Council Members Torres and Reynoso. These bills do not change the framework cops need to engage in good policing, and does not change the existing legal requirements of probable cause for a search and reasonable suspicion for a stop. These bills are simply meant to continue the Council’s discussion about how the NYPD can engage in better and equitable police practices in all communities across the city. I would like to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and Public Safety Chair Gibson for holding today’s important hearing.”

IN THE NEWS

NY1: Bratton Against Legislation that Would Add Regulations to NYPD

NY Observer: Bill Bratton: Council Reform Bills Are ‘Unprecedented Intrusions’ Into NYPD

Gothamist: Bratton Calls NYPD Reform Proposals “Unprecedented Intrusions”

SI Live: NYPD opposes Council’s police reforms, including chokehold ban

Reuters: NYPD union slams police reform bills, calls city council unqualified

DNA Info: Council’s Police Reform Laws Are ‘Unprecedented Intrusions,’ Bratton Says

Buzzfeed News: NYPD Boss Wants To Keep Chokeholds Legal And “Give Peace A Chance

BET: Families of Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham Call for ‘Right to Know’ Act

Bustle: New York’s “Right To Know” Act Faces Challenges But Could Be The Solution The City Needs For Better Policing

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About nycprogressives

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is dedicated to creating a more just and equal New York City, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.
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