Communities United for Police Reform joined Council Member Jumaane Williams and other council members at a press conference preceding today’s City Council hearing on the Community Safety Act to outline the need for NYPD reforms. They highlighted the 600 percent increase in the use of stop-and-frisk during the Bloomberg administration, contrasting it with the near constant and unchanged levels of gun violence during the same period, to illustrate the practice’s ineffective use and abuse during Bloomberg’s term as mayor. Participants also pointed to the New Yorkers of diverse backgrounds that are affected by discriminatory policing and profiling, including people of color, immigrants, the LGBT community, Muslims, NYCHA residents, young people, and the homeless, among others. Listing systemic NYPD issues, like quotas, the manipulation of crime statistics, and the mistreatment of protestors and journalists, they declared now was the time for reforms that help end discriminatory policing, improve transparency and provide independent oversight. “Discriminatory policing and the lack of police accountability have continued for far too long and are completely out of control,” said Djibril Toure, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “Whether it’s the abusive use of stop-and-frisk, quotas or systemic abuses of power, our city needs the reforms and accountability provided by the Community Safety Act. New Yorkers shouldn’t be policed differently based on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation or any other characteristics that have nothing to do with criminal behavior. The City Council is moving in the right direction to address these protracted issues and our communities support efforts to improve the NYPD so all New Yorkers feel safe.” The Community Safety Act is a package of four bills, sponsored by Council Member Williams, that is intended to help end discriminatory policing and improve police accountability.
- Intro 799 protects New Yorkers against unlawful searches that those subjected to stop-and-frisk often experience. These illegal searches have contributed significantly to the explosion of low-level marijuana arrests, primarily among black and Latina/o youth, despite the state’s 1977 decriminalization of private possession in small quantities.
- Intro 800 creates a strong ban on profiling by the NYPD and expands protections against profiling based on age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, housing status, language and disability, in addition to race, religion or ethnicity.
- Intro 801 requires NYPD officers to identify themselves and explain their actions in order to increase transparency in civilians’ encounters with the NYPD.
- Intro 881 establishes an Inspector General for the NYPD to provide independent oversight.