Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly say yes, and argue there is too much oversight in the City Council’s two newly proposed bills known as the Community Safety Act.
One bill would open the door to lawsuits against police by people who claim they were arrested based on age, race, gender or sexual orientation, and the other would add an independent inspector general to supervise the NYPD.
It is certain a time has come for change to the current stop-and-frisk policies, but are these two pieces of legislation the way to go?
"What are you going to say at the next eulogy you have to give after these bills are passed, when the family is 100 percent convinced that had you not passed this bill that their child would still be alive?” Bloomberg asked of the Council at a press conference on Monday. “I'd like to see if some of the City Council people vote for the bill and maybe none of them will after listening to us. I hope that's the case.”
Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams responded to the mayor and commissioner, saying that the two were “fear mongering and lying,” and even issued a challenge to all critics of the legislation, including the leaders of the police unions.
He refuted the mayor's claims that the bills would prevent investigators from considering the race of a suspect.
“If anyone can identify the specific clause of the legislation that would keep law enforcement from using descriptive factors such as race in a suspect description, I will withdraw the bill,” Williams said. “If no one can, as I suspect will be the case, then I charge them to withdraw their false advertisements and come clean to New Yorkers.”
With recent reports revealing that precincts may be issuing stop-and-frisk quotas, like the Floyd v. City of New York case where Officer Pedro Serrano blew the whistle on his precinct lieutenant, it is clear that some oversight is always needed when it comes to any form of government.
But the real question is, can the city afford the repercussions and cost of thousands of likely lawsuits if the Community Safety Act is passed?