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Speaker Quinn, the frontrunner in the mayoral race, said a council bill to create an Inspector General's office for the NYPD likely has enough votes to override a mayoral veto. The office would be able to issue subpoenas, interview witnesses, and look broadly at police procedures and policies. Individual misconduct cases would still be handled by Internal Affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Quinn said talks were also progressing on three companion proposals to set new stop-and-frisk rules. A bill to create an NYPD monitor was introduced in June, but Quinn kept it from a vote. Bill de Blasio, a Democrat also running for mayor, said the monitor needed to have a budget independent of the mayor and City Council. Quinn would still retain Commissioner Kelly, who is opposed to the monitor.
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Critics of the New York Police Department's stop, question and frisk policy rallied in front of the federal courthouse in Manhattan after a judge heard key testimony in a class action lawsuit that seeks to reform the contentious crime reduction strategy.
Among the critics was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who told those gathered in Foley Square that systemic forms of discrimination exist across the country.
"Those who stand today give voice to a national crisis," Jackson said. "There's nothing more painful than to be a victim of something you can’t do nothing about — the color of your skin."
Groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, LatinoJustice, VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and others were represented at the rally in support of the class action lawsuit filed against the city for its continued use of stop-and-frisk.
Trial in the case, Floyd et al. v. the City of New York, began in the Southern District of New York hours before.
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.
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)
City Considers Limiting Deportations
Two bills set to be proposed in the City Council today would further limit the city's cooperation with federal programs that seek to deport immigrants. The bills are in response to The Secure Communities Act which mandates fingerprints taken at local jails are compared to a Department of Homeland Security database. Anyone who is deemed an illegal immigrant is then marked to be detained. If the City passes these laws it will strengthen its reputation as immigrant-friendly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo symbolically withdrew New York from the program earlier this year. â€śWhat we donâ€™t want is New York Cityâ€™s agencies having to participate in deporting people who present no risk and in fact may be adding a great deal to the City of New York,â€ť Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Times yesterday in an interview.
In the Press...
Sen. Jeff Klein Took Campaign Cash From Ex-Mobsters, Felons (Riverdale Press)
Community organizers and religious leaders from various faiths came together in front of City Hall to mark International Human Rights Day by calling for increased oversight of the New York Police Department. Advocates say that the use of controversial police practices such as stop-and-frisk and monitoring of Muslims demonstrate the need to reform public safety in communities of color. They have called for the passage of a package of legislation called the Community Safety Act that includes a measure that would create a new inspector general to oversee the NYPD who would make recommendations about policy. The police have said that their tactics make the city safer. Mayor Michael M. Bloomberg is firmly opposed to the Community Safety Act. â€śThe Muslim community is under siege,â€ť said Imam Ayub Abdul-Baki, of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, at todayâ€™s rally. â€śWe are insecure about dealing with police officers in our community ... We are not sure if they are protecting or victimizing us.â€ť Faizah N. Ali, a 27-year-old coordinator for civic engagement from the Arab American Association of New York, said she became motivated to work on police accountability after news reports last year that the NYPD was monitoring Muslims. â€śIn a democratic society, part of our job is to hold our leaders accountable,â€ť she said.Ali explained that the unity among the various religious and ethnic groups at City Hall was part of an effort to emphasize the need for social justice in police practices. â€śWe are a set of diverse New Yorkers looking for the police to treat everyone with dignity and respect," she said.
Image courtesy eyewashdesign: A. Golden, used under Creative Commons license.
Testimony began today on a class-action suit against an NYPD program that allows police to stop-and-frisk anyone in the halls and stairwells of private buildings enrolled in the 20-year-old Clean Halls program, which gives them permission to do so. The New York Civil Liberties Union and six black or Latino plaintiffs from the Bronx say the stops are unconstitutional and unwarranted. They claim the police have unlawfully stopped more than 1,000 minority residents for trespassing in those buildings. The Bronx District Attorneyâ€™s office has been tossing arrests made under the program unless the arresting officer was interviewed. Meanwhile, the department issued a directiveordering cops to document when an assistant DA refuses to take a case so it can be reported to and tracked by the legal bureau.
In the Press...
Attack Ads by Outside Groups With Murky Ties Shape Three Senate Races (NY Times)
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NY Ethics Board Eyes Maverick's Notes (Albany Times Union)
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.
Commissioner Kelly has called for a grand jury investigation into the fatal shooting of a driver by police last week on the grand Central Parkway. The officer is said to be 'anxious' to testify in order to clear his name. It is routine for prosecutors to bring fatal shootings by the police before a grand jury. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is ultimately in charge of empaneling a grand jury and is investigating the shooting already. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg says appointing an inspector general to oversee the NYPD would bring crime back to the streets of the city.
GOP shows lead in state Senate races (Albany Times Union)
Gang member conviction as a terrorist for girl's death is up on appeal (Associated Press)
Tax stances separate 2013 hopefuls (Wall Street Journal)
The officer who shot an unarmed man on the grand Central Parkway last week was previously named in two lawsuits alleging civil rights violations and police brutality. He says he thought the victim shot Thursday was reaching for a gun. There was a hand drill on the floor but no weapon. Meanwhile, community members rallied in front of Police Headquarters to protest another recent fatal shooting - this one a case where it's questioned whether officers followed protocol for dealing with 'emotionally disturbed persons' barricaded in their homes. In an additional case, the department is now apologizing for sending a bill for damages to a cop car to the mother of a man killed by that car after a chase. The death is being investigated by prosecutors.
In the Press...
For judge in firefighter discrimination case, an evolving opinion (NY Times)
Judge allows lawsuit over NYPD tactics in public housing (Wall Street Journal)
Big change in gifted and talented testing (Wall Street Journal)
A police officer shot and killed an unarmed man after pulling him over on the Grand Central Parkway last night, and the passenger says his hands were on the wheel when it happened. It's still unclear why the officer shot his gun. The driver, an Army reservist, was pulled over for cutting the officer's truck off.
2013 New York primary voting requires any party changes by Oct. 12 (NY Times)
Ethics panel issues subpoenas to Assembly ethics committee (Albany Times Union)
Loitering rules in projects are too vague, judge says (NY Times)
Crime in New York City is going up in all categories except homicide, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. told the Queens Campaigner in an interview published today.
â€śIâ€™ve been warning that this crime increase would occur,â€ť said the chair of the Council's public safety committee.
He indicated that the size of the police force could be linked to the uptick in crime, telling reporter Rebecca Henley that the "Safe Cities, Safe Streets" program in the early 1990s increased the number of police officers in the city from 31,000 to 41,000. But now he said that number is less than 35,000.
Vallone also defended stop-and-frisk, saying the police tactic had successfully gotten 800 firearms off the streets.
â€śI think theyâ€™re making an effort to do things the right way,â€ť he said of the New York Police Department.
A judge ruled that hundreds of protestors at the Republican National Convention in 2004 were arrested without probable cause on Fulton St. The city may now be liable for significant monetary damages. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said police could not have known whether each individual there intended to break the law. He denied requests to make the same ruling for a group of protestors on 16th St. during the convention. The judge also decided that police broke the law by fingerprinting protestors with identification who were arrested that day. But the fact that protestors were arrested rather than issued summonseswas deemed acceptable, since intelligence sources found that demonstrators planned unlawful activity.
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Group that won discrimination suit against Fire Department eyes back pay (WNYC)
White firefighters rally at Brooklyn federal court over Fire Department hiring (Daily News)
Members of the cityâ€™s Sikh community are calling on the New York Police Department to lift its restrictions on the type of turbans that officers can wear and the length of beards they can keep.
Sikh organizations held a news conference at the offices of City Comptroller John C. Liu today announcing an initiative to bring pressure on the NYPD to change their rules.
The NYPD currently allows Sikh officers to wear a dark-blue â€śpatkaâ€ť â€” a head garment commonly worn by younger male children of the faith â€” underneath their official police hats.
â€śI know lots of Sikhs who want to join the NYPD, but donâ€™t because of this regressive policy,â€ť said Prabjhot Singh Narula, the co-founder of the Sikh Coalition, in a statement.
Liu has said he would also petition the police to change the regulations.