October 4, 2012 — As the New York City Council prepares to conduct hearings in the coming weeks on landmark civil rights legislation to reform stop-and-frisk and related NYPD practices, the New York Civil Liberties Union today asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg to meet to discuss possible changes to the stop-and-frisk regime that would protect public safety while respecting all New Yorkers’ constitutional rights.
“Mayor Bloomberg has publicly acknowledged the need to ‘mend’ the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices, which suggests that there is room for a productive discussion with him on an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers every year,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “We look forward to Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership in reforming stop-in-frisk so that all New Yorkers can enjoy safe streets and are confident that police will respect their constitutional rights.”
The NYCLU made its request for a meeting in a letter to Mayor Bloomberg. The letter highlights some of the major problems with the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program: its ineffectiveness in reducing gun violence; its negative impact on black and Latino young men; and the NYPD’s misuse of the tactic in violation of the dignity and rights of New Yorkers.
Next Wednesday, Oct. 10, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee will hold an initial public hearing in Manhattan on the Community Safety Act – a series of bills that would reform abusive, discriminatory policing practices and create greater accountability and transparency to the Police Department.
Collectively, the four bills that comprise the Community Safety Act (Intros. 799, 800, 801 and 881) will: strengthen the prohibition on racial profiling and other forms of police discrimination; protect New Yorkers’ privacy rights when subject to a consensual search; ensure that police officers act in a transparent manner during stop-and-frisk encounters; and create an NYPD Inspector General’s Office.
“By scheduling this hearing, the City Council has shown that it is serious about the need to ensure that the NYPD is treating all New Yorkers with courtesy, professionalism and respect,” NYCLU Advocacy Director Udi Ofer said. “Next week’s hearing provides Mayor Bloomberg an opportunity to stand up and say that New York’s finest can effectively protect the safety and security of our communities while respecting the rights and dignity of all New Yorkers.”
Following next week’s Public Safety Committee hearing, the City Council’s Civil Rights Committee will hold field hearings in Brooklyn (Oct. 23) and Queens (Oct. 24) on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices.