inspector general Tag All blog entries tagged as inspector general http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Wed, 09 Jul 2014 01:35:39 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Legendary Morgenthau Thinks City Council Shouldn't Rein In Stop-And-Frisk http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/06/24/legendary-morgenthau-thinks-city-council-shouldnt-rein-in-stop-and-frisk http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/06/24/legendary-morgenthau-thinks-city-council-shouldnt-rein-in-stop-and-frisk

NEW YORK — Legendary former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau recalled yesterday how in the 1960s and 1970s police avoided making stops of potential suspects out of fear of retribution.

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"That's where we were," he said as he stood with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and a bevy of law enforcement leaders who had gathered at One Police Plaza. They had gathered to voice their opposition to a package of City Council bills aimed, in part, at reining in the New York Police Department's use of stop-and-frisk.

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Morgenthau, who was the city's top prosecutor for more than three decades until his retirement in 2009, praised the NYPD's record and said that, instead of pursuing the legislation, the Council should tackle what he called the disproportionate deaths of black men by gun violence.

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"What's the City Council going to do about that?" he asked. "If City Council wants to do something that's important, let see how they can reduce or propose a reduction of the murder of African American men."

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It was an argument that echoed defenses of stop-and-frisk put forth in the past by Bloomberg and Kelly.

The mayor, for his part, said the bills would be a burden on the NYPD. "What we mustn’t have is what these laws would create: A police department pointlessly hampered by outside intrusion, and recklessly threatened by second-guessing from the courts," the mayor said.

The City Council bills had been stalled in the public safety committee, where the chair, Peter Vallone Jr., opposed it and refused to bring it to a vote. Using a seldom-used legislative procedure known as a "motion to discharge," the Council voted to circumvent the public safety committee today and the bills will now go to the floor for a vote.

The pair of bills aim to strengthen the city's racial profiling ban and create an inspector general to independently monitor the NYPD — potentially setting the ground to reshape police policy.

Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams said New Yorkers who are disproportionally stopped and frisked or who are under police surveillance are already living in a 1960s-like reality as a result of racial profiling by the NYPD.

"We're making our communities trust police," Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, a co-sponsor of the bill, said, defending the legislation. "I've gone to my community and said we have to view them as community partners."

William's co-sponsor, Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander, said the bills would improve public safety.

"The bills are simple," Lander said. "When we vote to discharge them today, when we vote to pass them on Wednesday, when we override Mayor Bloomberg's veto when it comes back to us — we will help makes sure that we have safer streets. We will make sure that people's rights are protested and respected. And we will restore the bonds of trust that are necessary for good policing in New York City."

On Monday, the motions to discharge by the sponsors of the Council legislation were met with bipartisan opposition from seven Council members: Queens Democrats Vallone, James Gennaro and Peter Koo joined with Queens Republican Eric Ulrich, as did Staten Island Republicans James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio. Brooklyn Democrats Lew Fidler and Mike Nelson voted against the discharges as well.

It was the first time in the seven-year tenure of Speaker Christine Quinn that a motion to discharge had been brought in the Council. Quinn is opposed to the racial profiling bill, but has said she would support the inspector general bill.

The bills now go to to a floor vote at a second City Council meeting currently scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. As of Monday afternoon, only the inspector general bill has a veto-majority of 35 co-sponsors secured.

The racial profiling bill only has 33 of the same 35 co-sponsors its sister legislation enjoys.

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Gotham Gazette intern Daniel Stein-Sayles contributed to this report.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Public Safety Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:26:05 +0000
Brooklyn Councilman: Opposition To NYPD Bills 'Paternalistic' http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/06/11/brooklyn-councilman-opposition-to-nypd-bills-paternalistic http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/06/11/brooklyn-councilman-opposition-to-nypd-bills-paternalistic

Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams calls opposition to two bills that would increase oversight and regulation of the New York Police Department "paternalistic."

The bills to create an independent police department inspector general and expand the city's ban on racial profiling are expected to be introduced at tomorrow's Council meeting.

"What sometimes disturbs me is that the most vociferous people against these bills generally are not the ones that deal with gun violence in their district and are not the ones who deal with over-policing in their district," Williams said earlier today after unveiling the latest versions of the bills at City Hall. His district has already seen at least 27 shootings this year.

"I would wager a bet," Williams continued while punctuating his points by thumping his fist at the podium before him, "that I have been to more funerals of young black men than they have. That I have spoken to more mothers just minutes, hours, days after they've lost a young black or Latino male than they have."

Yesterday, Williams and fellow Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander, a co-sponsor, announced that they would bypass the chair of the Council's public safety committee in order to get the bills to the floor for a vote in the next few weeks.

The committee's chair, Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., told the Gotham Gazette today that he opposes the racial profiling bill in particular, which builds upon legislation he helped write and pass in 2004.

"Virtually everyone in law enforcement is opposed to this bill," Vallone said. "And I can't think of anybody more affected by gun violence than law enforcement."

Vallone specifically questioned a part of the bill that would allow residents to sue police for biased profiling, a move that he said would put a hole in the city budget and take police officers off the streets.

"If anyone doesn't think massive costs will not lead to an increase in crime, well, they're absolutely naive," Vallone said, adding that there is no middle ground in a debate between police and those "without a single day of experience in law enforcement."

Lander said the bill only allows for declaratory releif in lawsuits, not monetary, and there's a high bar for plaintiffs to bring about a lawsuit.

"Let's be clear," Lander said during the presser, "the goal of this legislation is to make sure the NYPD does good policies that doesn't involve biased-based profiling. The standards of the law are clear, and if they simply use the clear test provided in the law, they'll easily be able to continue to implement permissible policies."

Lander added that he and Williams were confident that the City Council will have secured veto-proof majorities by the time the bill goes to a vote. Bloomberg has committed to vetoing both bills, which Lander expects will happen before August.

Over the last few months, Bloomberg has used both bills as a measure of his replacement's commitment to public safety, making them a central point of debate in many mayoral forums.

Democratic frontrunner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has committed to the inspector general bill, but not to the profiling legislation. Still, she's willing to let the bill go to a vote.

Besides Quinn, only Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is supportive of both bills. Former comptroller Bill Thompson and former Congressman Anthony Weiner have argued that they would be unnecessary under their administrations.

Sitting Comptroller John Liu often describes stop-and-frisk as institutionalized profiling. Like like Thompson and Weiner, he dismisses the need for a monitor under his leadership. All the Republican candidates support NYPD's stop-and-frisk.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Public Safety Tue, 11 Jun 2013 20:21:36 +0000
Quinn Aims For Middle Ground In Public Safety Speech http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/04/24/quinn-aims-for-middle-ground-in-public-safety-speech http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/safety/2013/04/24/quinn-aims-for-middle-ground-in-public-safety-speech New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants the police department to be bigger than it is under Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and to better relate with the people that it protects.

The Democratic candidate for mayor defended most of Bloomberg's current policing strategy anc called for an additional 1,600 uniformed officers, but tried to reach a middle ground on the city's stop, question and frisk policy.

While she reiterated her support for an independent police monitor to oversee the department, Quinn distanced herself from a proposed law that would expand the city's law against racial profiling.

"We need to sustain the progress we've made over the past 12 years, fix what hasn't worked and build a stronger bond between police and the communities they serve," she said.

Quinn also defended Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who Quinn has previously lauded despite disagreement on the stop-and-frisk policy. She called his work "incredible" and said that anyone who fails to recognize his work "is simply out of touch with the reality of life in New York City."

Kelly and Bloomberg have both come out against a City Council proposal to create an indepdnent inspector general. Both the commissioner and the mayor argue that the NYPD has sufficient oversight, including the Civilain Complaint Review Board and the department's Internal Affairs Bureau. Quinn nonethless celebrated Kelly's time with the force.

"Our city would be incredibly lucky to have him continue on as commissioner," she said.

To continue making progress, Quinn said that the police needs to hire more officers. She prosposed that the city hire 1,600 additional police officers, and that the department accelerate its hiring of 500 new officers who are scheduled to start in January.

Quinn would instead have those new officers begin in June, and said that a speedier increase in police hires would not be a financial burden for the department. The additional cost, she said, would be offset by, among other things, the lower wages given to new recruits as opposed to senior officers on the verge of retirement.

Quinn credited Kelly for a number of things, including what she called strides in community relations since former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's tenure. She also praised the increased number of minority officers and the department's "direct community engagement."

Calling stop-and-frisk an "important tool" for police, Quinn said she doesn't want to ban the policy. Instead, she wants the NYPD to better train its officers and build better working relationships with community members to mend the rift between the two.

"A safe city and a city where people in every community feel like they’re being treated with respect are not mutually exclusive goals," she said. "We can have both."

She repeated her support for the independent monitor legislation, one of four bills in the propsoed Community Safety Act. Unlike previous statements about the act, however, Quinn came out against one of the bills that would enforce the city's law against racial profiling.

She cautioned that the bill is redundant of existing checks put in place against racial profiling. Quinn said New Yorkers can already work file grievances with the CCRB and lawsuits through the federal courts.

"I believe this presents a real risk that a multitude of state court judges issue rulings that could take control of police policy decisions away from the mayor and commissioner," Quinn said, repeating a line often used against her support of the inspector general bill. "This could overlap and possibly conflict with rulings coming out of the federal courts, and could occur before the proposed oversight through DOI has had a chance to be fully implemented."

The Community Safety Act's lead sponsors, who have worked with Quinn on the inspector general bill, both admonished the speaker for her lack of support for the racial profiling bill. Brooklyn Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander jointly stated that recent lawsuits against stop-and-frisk prove that profiling is happening despite existing law.

"We cannot keep our communities safe by profiling our neighbors based on their race, religion, LGBT, or other status," they wrote in response to Quinn's speech. "It violates fundamental civil liberties, breaks down the bonds of trust necessary for good policing, sets New Yorkers against each other and has never been proven to work."

The bill in question, Intro 800-A, has already been amended since it was first introduced last year. The latest language would not allow plaintiffs to seek monetary damages, adopt the city Human Rights Law's definition of profiling and protect supervisors from legal action.

Quinn is expected to join her fellow Democratic mayoral candidates for a larger forum on public safety tonight at John Jay College for Criminal Justice to be aired on NY1.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Public Safety Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:49:48 +0000
Lhota to Quinn: Leave NYPD Alone http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/01/lhota-to-quinn-leave-nypd-alone http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/01/lhota-to-quinn-leave-nypd-alone

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota says City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's support for an independent police monitor is "reckless," "dangerous" and "redundant."

Lhota made the comments about Quinn, a Democrat who is also seeking to be mayor, from a prepared text while standing next to a super-sized printout of New York Police Department CompStat numbers.

"The police department needs to maintain a laser-like focus in the reduction of crime," Lhota said. "We can't allow reckless behavior like putting a handcuff on the police department, which is what the inspector general bill will do."

A supporter of NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, Lhota said that he would expect the NYPD to regularly train officers on how to use what he described as a constitutional practice.

The candidate praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commisioner Ray Kelly for their leadership on crime reduction, but also pointed to a spike in felony crimes between 2011 and 2012, which he highlighted on the board next to him. Lhota argued that public safety in the city is in too fragile a state to consider putting in place another level of bureaucracy on the police department.

Lhota also pushed back against a reporter when he was asked about former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's alleged support of a police inspector general in 1993. Lhota, who served as Giuliani's deputy mayor, said that the former mayor only said that he would think about establishing an independent monitor.

"Go back and look at candidate Giuliani's quote where he said, ‘I might consider it,'" Lhota said. "He did not support one."

Lhota pointed to Giuliani's court battle with then Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr. over an independent monitor bill, which the Council lost. Less than an hour after Lhota's press event, the speaker's office sent out an email to reporters with five press clips referring to Giuliani's comments on an inspector general.

When reached for a response to Lhota's claims, Quinn's office forwarded letters of support for an inspector general bill from three former corporation counsels of New York City and the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

Giuliani on NYPD Outside Monitor by Chester Soria

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Elections Mon, 01 Apr 2013 17:35:37 +0000
Bloomberg, Quinn At Odds Over NYPD Inspector General http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/21/bloomberg-quinn-at-odds-over-nypd-inspector-general http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/21/bloomberg-quinn-at-odds-over-nypd-inspector-general

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the introduction of any legislation that would create an inspector general to independently monitor the NYPD will set a dangerous precedent for the city.

He said the plan is a political play during an election year that would create redundant bureaucracy.

"Together, the mayor and the commissioner set the direction of the department — and they do not need an unelected and unaccountable official to supervise their policy decisions," Bloomberg said. "The bill being considered by the City Council would undermine the accountability that has been essential in the department’s success — and make our city less safe."

Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the leading Democratic candidates for mayor who yesterday announced she would support a measure to create an inspector general for the NYPD, told reporters at City Hall that it was unfortunate the mayor disagrees with the bill. But she said she expects the bill to pass with overwhelming support as soon as it's introduced. She said she would push back against a mayoral veto.

"I can guarantee we will override it," she said.

Quinn said the groups that Mayor Bloomberg cited as oversight bodies — five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Commission to Combat Police Corruption and the department's own Internal Affairs Bureau — did not have sufficient powers to reign in the NYPD.

"Those are entities that look at the actions of individual police officers," Quinn said. "But we don't, in fact, have a monitoring mechanism to look at broader policies and practices within the department."

She rebuffed Bloomberg's implication that the bill is just election year politics, adding that the stakes were too high for her to ignore the legislation while she still serves as speaker.

"We have a situation right now in this city, whether we like it or not, where some of the practices of the police department have caused significant rifts the police and the community," Quinn said. "Those types of rifts make it harder to keep people safe, not easier. This type of monitoring will help move us beyond this issue in the future."

Some of Quinn's fellow candidates for mayor began to take a stand on the issue a forum on public safety on Tuesday night. Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota both vocally opposed the bill, although Capital New York reported that de Blasio supports introducing an inspector general bill that grants subpeona power and a budget independent of both the mayor and council.

The public advocate's fellow Democratic challenger and former comptroller Bill Thompson sent out a statement late Wednesday also in support of a strong independent watchdog over NYPD.

"The need for an IG reflects the city’s failure to reform stop-and-frisk and see our communities as partners, instead of adversaries, in fighting crime," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate and supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis sent out his own statement, calling Quinn's proposed inspector general legislation "ill-conceived" and that it "defies common sense."

"Speaker Quinn released the plan just prior to a mayoral debate focused on criminal justice and public safety issues in an attempt to advance her candidacy for mayor," Catsimatidis wrote. "It is a perfect example of a professional politician's desire to create a larger bureaucracy."

Photo by Bill Alatriste

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:44:53 +0000