Jumaane Williams Tag All blog entries tagged as Jumaane Williams http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:36:00 +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
Today's Headlines: Flatbush Still Tense After Riot http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/13/todays-headlines-flatbush-still-tense-after-riot http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/13/todays-headlines-flatbush-still-tense-after-riot

A witness now says that the boy fatally shot by police in East Flatbush earlier this week had no gun, as the officers claim. A gun was recovered from the scene, however. On Monday night, a group had splintered from a peaceful protest over the shooting and rioted. Local shops along Church Ave. were shuttering early yesterday in fear of more tumult. An offshoot of the Bloods gang has put out a hit on any cop in retaliation for the killing of the boy, who is said to have been a gang member. Both police involved in the shooting are people of color. During a budget hearing yesterday, Councilman Jumaane Williams said more violence could be expected if the police didn't repair their relationship with poor and minority communities, because the unrest was about more than this isolated shooting.

Other Stories We're Following

Courts Rein In Bloomberg’s Power to Make Policy (NY Times)

Minority Groups And Bottlers Team Up In Battles Over Soda (NY Times)

Soda Ban Faces Long Battle Ahead (Wall Street Journal)

Former Assemblyman To Serve One Month Soliciting Payoff (Daily News)

For Transit Systems, Storm Wounds Heal Slowly (Wall Street Journal)

Carrion May Be Nixed From Republican Mayoral Ticket (Daily News)

New York Startups Doubled In Two Decades (Wall Street Journal)

Old Lever Machine Becomes New Voting Kiosk (WNYC)

Interview With NYC's Chief Digital Officer [Video] (TechCrunch)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:03:13 +0000
Headlines:Council Debates Police Tactics http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/11/headlinescouncil-debates-police-tactics- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/11/headlinescouncil-debates-police-tactics-

Today's Lead Stories...

Council Hearing on Policing


The City Council held a 6-hour hearing on police tactics yesterday that focused on stop-and-frisk. Four bills were mainly at issue. One bill would require officers to identify themselves and provide their name and rank during stops. Another bill would require officers to inform suspects of their right to refuse a search. Another bill would establish an Office of the Inspector General to oversee the police department. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Chief Ray Kelly were not present at the hearing and they oppose the measures. Bloomberg's council Michael Best argued that the council does not have the legal authority to legislate police tactics. Council Speaker Christine Quinn declined to say whether she supports the package of legislation.




In the Press...

Shootings by Police Down Last Year (NY Times)

Silver Supports Higher Taxes For Wealthy (Capitol Confidential)

Bloomberg Compares Himself to Churchill (NY Times)

Voter Registration Frenzy as Deadline Looms (Daily News)

Manhattan Apartment Rents up 8 Percent Per Year (Crain's)

Prosecutors Deny Making up Case Against Liu (NY Times)

Seabrook Had Worst Council Attendance (Daily News)

Wall Street Wants to Overturn State Lobby Law (Wall Street Journal)

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Thu, 11 Oct 2012 12:41:54 +0000
Latino Leaders Urge Passage of Police Reform Legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/24/latino-leaders-urge-passage-of-police-reform-legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/24/latino-leaders-urge-passage-of-police-reform-legislation

Riko Guzman said today on the steps of City Hall that when he was 11 years old he was with friends on his Bronx neighborhood sidewalk “doing nothing” when a police officer stopped and frisked him.

“I was approached by my own heroes,” said the Bronx member of the Justice Committee, a Latino-led organization that works on police accountability.

Guzman joined with other Latino and African American local elected officials, community leaders and reformers earlier today to urge passage of a package of City Council bills that could change the way the New York Police Department does its job.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez said the police use of stop-and-frisk is doing little for public safety. Instead, community members “view the police as a threat and enemy, not as an ally to make their community safer,” she said.

The bills, known collectively as the The Community Safety Act, are sponsored by City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, who noted that advocates of the bills are “not anti-police.”

“We just want to make policing better,” he said.

Some critics of the bills say they rely on overly broad language to determine whether an individual can sue the NYPD for stop-and-frisk tactics. In a New York Post article published yesterday, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said the bills were “dangerous and irresponsible” and could cost the city millions in lawsuits.

But Williams said that the bills would simply address the need for a policy change.

According to a video from the Communities United for Police Reform, the primary organization supporting the bills, the legislation will mandate police officers explain that they can only search a person with consent or a warrant; must give a reason for their search; show a card with their name and rank; and provide information about the Civilian Complaint Review Board if the person would like to report the search.

The legislation would also create a new position of inspector general to have policy oversight of the NYPD.

But the primary goal of the legislation is stopping police profiling not just on the basis of race but also religion, gender, household, employment, immigration status, and ethnicity. More than 1.2 million of police stops during the past several years targeted African-Americans and Latinos, supporters of the legislation say.

Police reform groups and community organizations will be holding a rally at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in support of the legislation, starting by 250 Broadway and proceeding to the steps of City Hall.

Williams pointed out that none of these bills are going to solve the issue of stop-and-frisk and the need for police accountability.

“What they will do is allow the City Council to make a strong showing that there is a problem here and it needs to be addressed,” he said.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Mon, 24 Sep 2012 20:22:18 +0000