April 24, 2013 — In response to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s announcement that she will not support the anti-profiling bill before the City Council as part of the Community Safety Act, the leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement, attributable to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
“We are deeply disappointed that the speaker will not support a strong ban against profiling by the NYPD. But we expect that the anti-profiling bill, like the Inspector General bill, which both enjoy the overwhelming majority of support in the City Council, will get the vote it is entitled to.
“Over the course of the Bloomberg administration, New York City residents have been stopped and frisked more than 5 million times. New Yorkers have been spied on because of their religion and national origin. And we’ve read in the newspapers about arrest quotas and worse.
“The City Council and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have made incredible strides fighting back against this injustice in coming to a common ground on an Inspector General for the NYPD. But an Inspector General is no magic bullet.
“The NYPD needs wholesale reform over the way it does business with respect to some New Yorkers’ basic civil rights. While racial profiling is currently banned, it is a law with no teeth. The anti-profiling bill that is part of the Community Safety Act makes it illegal for cops to use race as a reason to stop someone – unless there really is a suspect description. Since fitting a description was the reason for a stop-and-frisk just 16 percent of the time in 2011, this will force the Department to explain why 90 percent of people stopped are black and Latino. But just as importantly, this bill broadens the communities that are protected against profiling. So whether you’re black or Latino, Muslim or Arab, gay or straight, this legislation will protect you against profiling by the NYPD. This bill will allow New Yorkers to actually hold the NYPD accountable when acts of discrimination happen.
“New Yorkers should insist that every candidate for mayor takes a clear and unequivocal position on this crucial issue, and that the City Council promptly holds a vote on this basic civil rights legislation.”