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The city asked a judge to put a freeze on her ruling that stop-and-frisk practices be overhauled and a monitor for the NYPD be installed until its appeal of the decision was heard. In the administration's request, numbers were cited showing a significant drop in the stops. Mayor Bloomberg will also begin making public weekly updates on crime statistics. Meanwhile, Commissioner Kelly announced that the number of people shot by police dropped to 18 this year compared with 22 at this point last year. In related news, the NYPD has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations.
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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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The New York Police Department’s practice of stop-and-frisk violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, a judge ruled yesterday in a decision that included a call for a court-assigned independent monitor to oversee several reforms.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose administration has aggressively defended the practice as necessary to keep crime at historic lows, called the decision “very dangerous.”
"We believe we have done exactly what the courts allow and what the Constitution allows us to do,” he said.
He promised to appeal the decision — but the legal fight will likely outlast his stewardship of the city and will be left to his successor. Democratic candidates for mayor largely said they would abide by the court’s decision. Republican candidates called on the Bloomberg administration to fight it.
In her decision, federal judge Shira Scheindlin found that the city’s stop-and-frisk relied on “indirect racial profiling” by targeting minority communities and that officers stopped “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.” She said the practice violated the Fourth Amendment, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
The U.S. Justice Department will probe whether the civil rights of a black teen were violated when he was shot and killed by a police officer last year. A Bronx grand jury declined to charge the cop with manslaughter on Wednesday. The boy's family was unable to obtain a special prosecutor for the case. The officer had previously been indicted by another jury. That decision was overturned by a judge who said the jury should take into account that another officer said the teen was armed. The cop gave an emotional and precise testimony this time, as opposed to the last one where he appeared nervous. The teen was shot in his own home and no gun was found, only a small bag of marijuana. The officer also still faces a disciplinary review by the Police Department.
DON'T MISS: THIS WEEK IN GOTHAM GAZETTE Policy Dreamin' At Manhattan BP Debate: All of them think Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Midtown East rezoning plan is moving much too fast. All of them concede they are willing to revisit the City Charter to improve land use procedures. They all want to diversify their appointments. And they want to connect the limited powers of the office they are seeking to a wider breadth of pressing issues. By Chester Soria. Op-Ed: Preservation Can Contribute To Affordability by Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. GothamVotes: A Conversation With Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn by Chester Soria PLUS: Don't forget to check our site devoted to the historic 2013 elections: GothamVotes2013.com
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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.
SUPERSTORM SANDY ROUNDUP
A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments today in a lawsuit that could determine the outcome for hundreds of people displaced by Superstorm Storm and facing eviction from a city-funded hotel program that was supposed to terminate at the end of April. The New York Times reports that relief efforts by members of Occupy Wall Street has created a split in the nascent movement. Community groups in low-lying neighborhoods aren't waiting for the government to develop plans to respond to extreme weather; they've decided to create their own agenda.
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Yesterday Police Commissioner Kelly spoke for the first time about the idea of creating an inspector general for NYPD. “I think putting in another layer of so-called supervision or monitoring can ultimately make this city unsafe," he said. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg commented on the mayoral candidates' ability to keep the city safe: “What we don’t know is what they will actually do to reduce crime. We don’t even know if it’s a goal.” Mayoral Candidate William Thompson said Tuesday he wants an inspector who would report to the commissioner. In related news, three cops who have stopped-and-frisked an unusual amount of people will offer their perspective on the practice at a trial over its constitutionality.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.