There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what is in the City Council’s Community Safety Act.
Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference in order to warn New Yorkers about what he feels are the dangers of the Act, especially the creation of an Inspector General.
Here is my summary of what is actually in the bills:
NYPD REFORM BILL IN THE CITY COUNCIL: Community Safety Act
A series of bills in the City Council seeks to limit the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk, to end “bias-based” policing, and to create an Inspector General for the police department.
Prohibiting bias-based policing: Defined in the bill as actions in which race, color, ethnicity, religion, etc, were the “determining factor” for the action.
· Allows those who feel they were subject to bias-based policing to file suit. Plaintiffs would be able to bring a civil action for injunctive and declaratory relief
Requiring documentation of search, NYPD to tell individual of their right to refuse:
· Before NYPD conducts a warrantless search:
o Must tell person that search is voluntary and that they may refuse;
o Create a record of person’s consent:
§ Statement that person understands they may refuse, that person is voluntarily submitting to search, that they may withdraw consent at any time during the search
§ Record to include names and badge numbers of officers
§ A copy of “consent record” to be provided to person who consented to a search.
Require officers to identify themselves and state the reason for the search. In the case of a search that does not result in an arrest or summons, officer must provide person with officer’s name, rank, and command and a phone number for the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Establish an Inspector General: The IG would be appointed by and report to the mayor. The IG cannot be a current member of the New York City police department or have served in the department within the last 10 years.
The IG would:
· Review the policies, practices, programs, and operations of the department;
· Make recommendation to improve the department’s policies, practices, programs, and operations, including for the purpose of promoting civil liberties and civil rights;
· The inspector general shall create a mechanism for the public to submit requests for reviews;
· Prepare semiannual reports;
· Have subpoena power and access to NYPD records, audits, reviews, and other documents.
Deputy director appointed by IG and to “serve as a liaison” between the IG and NYPD. Deputy Director to have an office physically within the NYPD.