June 27, 2013 — The New York Civil Liberties Union today applauded the New York City Council’s passage of the Community Safety Act – a pair of measures that collectively will improve the quality of policing in the city, and bring meaningful accountability and transparency to the NYPD.
“Today, the City Council took a firm stand for civil rights and police accountability,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “The passage of the Community Safety Act marks a historic victory in the New York City police reform movement. These measures will improve the lives of New Yorkers, bring much-needed transparency and accountability to the NYPD, and strengthen relations between police officers and the communities they serve.”
With veto-proof majorities, the City Council early this morning passed the two central components of the Community Safety Act: The NYPD Oversight Act, Intro. 1079, assigns the Commissioner of the Department of Investigation responsibility for oversight of the NYPD, authorizing it to review the Police Department’s policies and procedures to ensure that they operate effectively and are consistent with the law. The End Discriminatory Policing Act, Intro. 1080, establishes a strong and enforceable ban on profiling by NYPD officers.
“Racial profiling was previously banned, but the law had no teeth,” NYCLU Senior Organizer Candis Tolliver said. “This legislation requires police officers to base law-enforcement decisions on a person’s actions, not their skin color, religion or immigration status.”
During the Bloomberg administration, NYPD officers have conducted more than 5 million stop-and-frisk encounters on the city’s streets. Nearly 9-in-10 of people stopped were innocent as they were neither arrested nor issued a summons. More than 8-in-10 were black or Latino. Under Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD conducted widespread surveillance program targeting Muslim residents, singling out entire communities of New Yorkers based solely on their religious beliefs.
“These reforms bring us closer to a New York City where police treat all New Yorkers – regardless of their race, sex, gender, religion or anything else – with courtesy, professionalism and respect,” Lieberman said. “We applaud Council Members Jumaane Williams, Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito and all members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus for their determined leadership in getting this landmark civil rights legislation passed.”