Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union



  • Savino and de Blasio

    Senator Savino and Mayor de Blasio at lunch (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)

    As a debate rages over the appropriate law enforcement response to subway fare evasion, in Albany, a bill steepening the penalty for certain subway sex offenses is getting another look.

    During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ...

  • Ydanis NYPD

    City Council Member Rodriguez (photo: William Alatriste)

    The City Council Committee on Public Safety held an oversight hearing on Wednesday to examine the NYPD’s tactics and procedures regarding protests and crowd control. The perpetually controversial issue has come to the fore once again in the wake of immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir’s detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the NYPD’s subsequent aggressive handling of protesters, culminating in the arrests of two City Council members and 16 others on January 11.

    Both Council

  • de Blasio Bratton O'Neill NYPD

    James O'Neill, Bill Bratton, Bill de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York Police Department have much cause for celebration. Last year was undoubtedly the safest year on record in decades, setting new benchmarks for crime reduction across most major categories, according to the latest crime data released by the NYPD on Friday.

    The total number of major felony crimes fell below 100,000 for the first time ever, no small feat for a city now home to more than 8.5 million residents.

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    photo via The Mayor's Office

    In September, the City Council called a hearing to scrutinize the New York Police Department’s response in cases involving “emotionally disturbed persons” (EDPs). There had been six instances in the previous 11 months where a mentally ill New Yorker had been killed by police officers. Council Members demanded to know why, and sought ways to prevent those deaths in the future, and NYPD officials gave

  • vanessa gibson city council john mccarten

    Council Member Vanessa Gibson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    A City Council bill that creates an alternative to the state’s “disorderly conduct” statute, and mandates lower punishment for the infraction, became law on Friday along with numerous other bills relating to protecting undocumented immigrant New Yorkers. The bill, sponsored by City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, chair of the public safety committee, also adds another plank to the Council’s broad agendas of criminal justice reform and

  • Mark Peters DOI City Council

    DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (photo: William Alatriste)

    Four years ago, over the veto of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the City Council passed the Community Safety Act, a landmark piece of legislation relating to policing in New York City. One of the law’s most prominent planks was the creation of the NYPD Inspector General, an independent police department watchdog that would audit NYPD practices and operations and make recommendations on improvements.

    With the nation on edge over widely disseminated videos of black men

  • jumaane williams rtkar

    Jumaane Williams at a Right to Know Act rally (Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)

    In less than two months, the current class of the New York City Council ends its term, and eight incumbents who won reelection on Tuesday are running to lead the 51-member legislative body as its next speaker. It is an internal race influenced by county party affiliates, labor unions, Mayor Bill de Blasio, himself newly reelected, and others.

    As the clock ticks on this term and the speakership of Melissa Mark-Viverito, a de Blasio ally who is

  • NYPD de Blasio

    Mayor de Blasio & law enforcement officials (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor’s Office)

    At a recent hearing, New York City Council members discussed the effectiveness of NYPD responses to “emotionally disturbed person” (EDP) calls, the slow pace of implementation for new NYPD crisis intervention training, and the tragic outcomes of several recent interactions between NYPD officers and emotionally disturbed individuals.

    At the hearing, held Sept. 6 jointly by the Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Mental Health, Developmental

  • de Blasio Jumaane Williams NYPD

    Mayor de Blasio & Council Member Williams (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    A police oversight bill sponsored by City Council Member Jumaane Williams unanimously sailed through the Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations on Tuesday, and is all but certain to be voted through the full City Council on Thursday. The legislation, which increases reporting requirements about and efforts to mitigate police misconduct, has the support of the de Blasio administration, but is being opposed and criticized by the city’s largest police

  • jumaane williams pthny

    Council Member Jumaane Williams (photo: @pthny)

    After a lengthy legislative process, a bill regarding police misconduct is likely to move through the City Council this week, beginning with a Tuesday committee vote.

    The legislation (Intro. 119), introduced in 2014 by City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat, would require the city’s Law Department to post online, and to

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    Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (photo: Felipe De La Hoz/Gotham Gazette)

    As Mayor Bill de Blasio spent his third day in Queens for his week-long City Hall in Your Borough initiative, presumptive Republican mayoral nominee Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis showed up at his Manhattan workplace to reprimand the mayor for a lack of transparency for his numerous trips out of the city.

    “I believe it's important that when we ask the mayor how much has it cost the taxpayers for various trips around the United States, or around the world, that he give the public that answer,” she

  • Gotham Gazette: Mayor

    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD leaders (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    Asked about the cost to taxpayers for his recent trip to Germany, Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated at a press conference Wednesday that expenses for himself and three aides were paid for by the organizers of a protest rally the mayor was asked to headline. As for his NYPD security detail, which did come at taxpayer expense, the mayor said, “The NYPD always provides some kind of estimate so please ask them for that.”

    But, news outlets had already been asking the NYPD for that cost estimate

  • nypd via nypdrecruit

    (photo: @NYPDRecruit)

    Upping the immigration deportation ante, a San Francisco federal judge found “irreparable harm” and ordered a national preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s threat of cutting off law enforcement funds to “sanctuary cities” that defiantly refused to comply with his deportation policy.

    Under the proposed Trump policy, cities would lose funding if undocumented and even legal immigrants are not reported to federal authorities for deportation after being charged with low-level criminal offenses, such as

  • tucker body cam

    NYPD's Ben Tucker with a body camera (photo: @NYPDnews)

    After many months of waiting, the New York City Police Department recently announced its proposed rules for the use of body worn cameras. The NYPD developed the policy in response to a mandate by the federal court in the  Floyd v. City of New York “stop and frisk” case. To their credit, the NYPD, with the help of the ...

  • nypdnews twitter 2014 vievu

    (photo: @NYPDnews)

    In June 2016, the Policing Project at the NYU School of Law co-sponsored a study with the NYPD to assess sentiments regarding police body cameras, part of an effort to influence department policy as body cameras become worn by an increasing number of patrol officers. The NYPD has been gradually outfitting its officers with body

  • nypd graduation

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)

    The NYPD released its new body-worn camera policy last week. For the first time ever, the department relied on public opinion to help guide that policy. With help from the Policing Project, a New York-based organization dedicated to bringing the public voice to policing policy, more than 25,000 New Yorkers and 50 community-based

  • Garodnick City Council

    Council Member Dan Garodnick, the author (photo: William Alatriste)

    For decades, the New York City Police Department has had an early intervention system to identify officers prone to violence, based on their discipline and complaint history. Yet through leaks last month, we learned that the officers who killed Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham had extensive records of complaints against them. Despite so many documented

  • nypd press conf

    The media at an NYPD press conference (photo: @NYPDNews)

    Members of the news media wanting to get a new NYPD press badge will have to make do without until further notice.

    The department’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI), which handles the issuance of the credentials, has not been accepting applications for new cards for weeks, and has not definitively said when it will begin taking appointments again. The passes are designed to allow reporters to cross police lines and enter certain police-protected events and buildings.

  • lancman presser micah institute

    City Council Member Rory Lancman (photo: Micah Institute)

    In 2016, 159 people were exonerated in the United States after being wrongfully convicted for a crime they did not commit, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Fourteen of those wrongful convictions took place in New York, the

  • de blasio nypd headquarters

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign account recently posted a Twitter message touting the NYPD’s neighborhood policing initiative. “New York City is proving to the rest of the country that respectful, compassionate neighborhood policing drives down crime & makes us safer,” the tweet from @BilldeBlasio read.

    In a response symbolic of a problem de Blasio is facing as he heads into his re-election year, Lumumba

  • maya wiley mayor de blasio appointment

    CCRB Chair Maya Wiley & Mayor de Blasio in 2014 (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)

    The Civilian Complaint Review Board, a key provider of oversight of police conduct in New York City will be subject to oversight itself at a Friday hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety. It will be the first of its kind during the current administration wherein the CCRB is evaluated by the Council outside of the annual budget process. The hearing comes amid controversy over NYPD transparency with regard to officer

  • NYPD lights officer car

    (photo: @NYPDnews)

    Heartbreak and outrage at another deadly police shooting - this time concerning Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old woman with a psychiatric disability. Police, responding to a call about an "emotionally disturbed person," entered her apartment and when the woman became agitated and combative, an NYPD Sergeant killed her.

    It is all achingly familiar. In 1984, Eleanor Bumpurs, who was also a disabled elderly black woman in the Bronx, was killed with twin shotgun blasts in similar circumstances.

    In the wake of Bumpurs'

  •  de blasio crime nypd bratton oneill

    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD officials (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    This September was the safest September in the more than two decades that the NYPD has been keeping statistics of the seven major felonies through its CompStat system.

    Announcing that fact on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD officials, including new Commissioner James O’Neill, again touted crime numbers largely heading in the right direction.

    The press conference came one week after the first Presidential debate between

  • Garodnick NYPD

    City Council Member Garodnick, in NYPD hat, & colleagues (photo: William Alatriste)

    A bill introduced by City Council Member Dan Garodnick to require the NYPD to publish its patrol guide online will be heard for the first time by the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety next week. The hearing, set for Thursday, September 15, follows shortly on the recent controversy over the Right to Know Act, a package of police reform legislation that Council Speaker Melissa

  • NYPD BdB presser

    Mayor de Blasio at a press briefing (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    “You’re going to hear some numbers that are striking,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio as he began an August 4 press conference on the city’s latest crime statistics. “2016 saw the fewest shootings, the fewest robberies, the fewest burglaries, the fewest