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The City Council yesterday voted to override Mayor Bloomberg's veto of two stop-and-frisk reform bills known as the Community Safety Act. The inspector general bill override passed with a vote of 39-10, while the profiling bill override passed 34-15. Speaker Quinn supported the inspector general measure but opposed the profiling bill. She said she doesn't expect any conflict between the inspector general and a federal court-appointed monitor mandated earlier this month. Bloomberg vowed legal action against the profiling bill.
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Yesterday the Council voted 41-8 in favor of bringing two NYPD bills to a floor vote, bypassing a committee where they were being held up. This is the first time such a "discharge vote" has been used since 1989. One bill would create an independent monitor for the department and the other would allow individuals to sue over stops resulting from bias. The Council could vote on the bills as early as tomorrow. Former Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau spoke in opposition to the bills at a rally yesterday. Queens D.A. Richard Brown and Staten Island D.A. Dan Donovan also attended. The monitor bill is expected to get enough votes to override a mayoral veto, while the other is less certain.
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Mayor Bloomberg delivered a passionate speech yesterday defending his police policies and lashing out at critics. He lambasted civil rights groups and the media for not showing outrage at the recent murder of a boy in the Bronx. He signaled out the NY Times in particular for publishing an article opposing stop and frisk days afterwards. The paper's rebuttal was that the editorial and news gathering sections are separate. But they did however mention the shooting in an op-ed. The victim's mother supports the policy. Bloomberg also panned legislation in the City Council that would create an independent monitor for the NYPD and another addressing profiling. He argued that outside agencies wouldn't share sensitive information if another department could gain access to it and that it would somehow sow confusion among the ranks of who was in charge. The mayor also claimed that the second bill would bar the use of skin color in descriptions of suspects, which the bill's co-sponsor points out is not the case.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lashed out at critics of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk tactics, including mayoral candidates, who he said are playing politics and undermining law enforcement.
During a speech to an audience of NYPD leaders today, Bloomberg took umbrage at two bills proposed by City Council members that seek to increase oversight of stop, question and frisk, directly tying the program to the city's record-low crime rates and ongoing counterterrorism efforts.
The outgoing mayor also took grave offense with some of his potential successors and their willingness to make the city less safe by supporting "politically driven legislation."
"My message is simple: stop playing politics with public safety," Bloomberg said to an audience of NYPD leaders. "Look at what’s happened in Boston. Remember what happened here on 9/11. Remember all of those who’ve been killed by gun violence — and the families they left behind. We owe it to all of them to give our officers the tools they need to protect innocent lives or people will needlessly die and we’ll all be responsible."
Calling the police department officers "first preventers," the mayor argued that the numbers used to argue against stop-and-frisk prove the need for the practice. Bloomberg defended the program as a deterrence against gun possession and crime, and that the movement to end stop-and-frisk would turn the clock back on the city's low crime rates.