De Blasio Backs Revised Right to Know Act

December 12, 2017
Brigid Bergin

Mayor de Blasio reversed course on Tuesday saying he now supports legislation that promotes greater police accountability. The Right to Know Act includes two bills — one that requires police to identify themselves, and another that requires a person's consent before certain police searches.

Until now, the mayor and the NYPD opposed the bills, arguing the department had already addressed these issues by changing their own policies.

"Well over a year ago the NYPD issued new rules to officers related to consent to search and related to providing identification," said de Blasio.

He said those changes are working. But the Council has continued to push to codify them. "I think there was a concern in the Council that the reforms were a good idea, [but] they wanted to make sure they'd be lasting," he added.

De Blasio said after a series of negotiations, his administration reached a compromise with lawmakers. The bills were aged last night, which means the Council has the option to bring them to a vote at next Tuesday’s stated meeting.

But police reform advocates said the revised legislation doesn’t go far enough. Specifically, advocates called out Intro 182-D, sponsored by Council member Ritchie Torres, which requires police to provide a business card and explain the reason for certain interactions with the public.

"The bill version that the mayor is supporting has these huge loopholes that would make it so that a large majority of police interactions would actually be exempt from this," said Anthonine Pierre of the Brooklyn Movement Center and member of the steering committee of the Communities United for Police Reform.

A spokesman for Torres did not respond directly to the criticism, but suggested a vote on the bill at the next meeting was still up in the air.

"Aging the bill reserves the right to push it for a final vote at the next Stated," spokesman Raymond Rodriguez said adding, "but no final decision has been made."

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that represents rank-and-file police officers, opposes the entire legislative package, calling it "a dangerous distraction from the very real threats to our city."

Topics: Right to Know Act