The New York Civil Liberties Union submitted testimony to the New York City Council today offering qualified support for three bills that would require public reporting on the use of force and misconduct by NYPD officers. Although the three bills (539-A, 606-B and 824-A) would increase transparency, the City Council must take more decisive action to change the behavior of NYPD officers and make police encounters safer by passing the Right to Know Act. Under the Right to Know Act, officers would be required to identify themselves at the beginning of a stop and explain a person’s right to refuse consent to a search if there is no legal justification for it.
The following statement is attributable to NYCLU Advocacy Director, Johanna Miller:
“The issue of law enforcement violence and abuse directed at communities of color is one of the most painful, fraught and urgent of our time.”
“The transparency bills before the council would shed light on the use of force and misconduct by NYPD officers. Although they are important, they lack sufficient mechanisms to bring about changes in police behavior, and could be strengthened by requiring reporting on demographic data to reveal law enforcement’s disparate impact on marginalized groups.”
“This critical moment demands immediate, real change -- not incremental steps. The Right to Know Act is the real change we need. With provisions recommended by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the act enjoys majority support in the council. By passing the Right to Know Act, New York City has the opportunity to become a national leader in the movement to change the culture of policing, and to begin to rebuild trust between police and communities.”