Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and Progressive Caucus Join Community Groups and Families of New Yorkers Killed by NYPD to Demand Passage of Police Transparency Legislation
New York, NY- Communities United for Police Reform and members of the How Many Stops Act coalition, Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC), Progressive Caucus, elected officials and civil rights and community groups today gathered at City Hall to demand that the City Council pass the How Many Stops Act (HMSA) and for the mayor to sign the bills into law. Together, BLAC and the Progressive Caucus released a joint statement in support of the How Many Stops Act.
The joint statement begins: “The New York City Council Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) and Progressive Caucus (PC) call for swift action on Intros 538 and 586, commonly referred to as the ‘How Many Stops Act.’ We are proud to stand with the 26 family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD and dozens of community organizations, unions, and legal and advocacy groups and join them in calling for the immediate passage of these bills.”
The How Many Stops Act is endorsed by both the Black Latino Asian Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, dozens of organizations across the city and 26 family members of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD. HMSA legislation will bring critical transparency to the NYPD’s daily interactions with New Yorkers and will shed light on how, where, when, why and basic demographic data on who the NYPD is stopping on a daily basis.
“It's been a decade since the NYPD’s abuse of stop-and-frisk was found unconstitutional, yet the department is still unlawfully stopping, searching, and intimidating New Yorkers every day and conditions are only getting worse under Mayor Adams,” said Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson Chauvet Bishop, Organizer for the Justice Committee at the event today. “The reporting the How Many Stops Act requires takes only a matter of seconds for officers but will provide us with the information we need to transform the harmful interactions too many New Yorkers have with the police. It is time for the Speaker and City Council to immediately pass the legislation and for the Mayor to sign the bills into law so we have a clear picture of how the NYPD is operating in our city and can use this to work together to end NYPD profiling and abuse of Black, Latinx and other communities of color.”
Right now the NYPD is not required to report how many New Yorkers total are questioned by police every year, who they are, basic demographic information such as age, race, gender, or what neighborhoods they are stopped in. Currently, they are only required to report on level 3 stops, commonly known as stop-and-frisks. This means entire categories of street stops and investigative encounters are totally unreported. HMSA would change that, bringing urgently needed transparency and oversight to the black box that is policing.
“Reporting demographic information during a low level stop requires the push of a few buttons. This is not a radical notion. Do you know what is? The NYPD anti-crime unit’s rampant violations of the civil rights of Black and Brown New Yorkers in the dog whistle name of public safety. Of the 15,002 stops that occurred in 2022, 59 percent targeted Black residents and 30 percent targeted Latino New Yorkers. The safest communities are the ones with the most resources, not the ones with the most police. Accountability is not radical. Transparency is not radical. Let’s pass the How Many Stops Act now,” said Councilmember Alexa Aviles.
HMSA is co-sponsored by more than a majority of council members. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has stated these bills are a top priority. Mayor Adams, also said he would support this legislation at a meeting with families and advocates prior to taking office in November 2021.
“Passing the bills in the How Many Stops Act is vital for advancing community safety and the work that has been underway since I came into government over a decade ago, said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“I am here today on behalf of dozens of families who have lost loved ones to the NYPD to say we need the How Many Stops Act to be passed now. If these bills don’t get passed, it will protect abusive officers like those that killed my son. The families are calling for the Speaker and City Council to pass the How Many Stops Act at the September 14th stated meeting. We're calling on the Mayor to stop the NYPD from obstructing and immediately sign these bills into law!” stated Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah who was killed by the NYPD in 2012
"In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the NYPD engaged in a years-long policy and practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop and frisks. Unfortunately, ten years later, the NYPD continues to use its stop and frisk policy in an unconstitutional manner, mainly targeting Black and Latinx New Yorkers. We need to pass the HMSA to ensure true transparency from the NYPD and better understand how all police encounters impact the safety of communities most impacted by stop and frisk,” said Samah Sisay, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
“The How Many Stops Act is fundamental to police accountability. We can’t solve for the inequities and injustices in policing that Black and Brown, Latino, and other communities of color face in our city until we get a full picture of who is being stopped, why they’re being stopped, and what results from these interactions. The How Many Stops Act is an essential precursor to true safety for all New Yorkers, and just like we did not stop until the Right to Know Act passed years ago, we will not stop until we achieve basic transparency about the NYPD’s everyday interactions with New Yorkers,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
"What happened to me did not feel 'low-level' and should have been counted,” said Terron Belle, who was illegally stopped and frisked by the NYPD and was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit Belle v. City of New York brought by the Legal Aid Society. “We need to know what stops the NYPD are making to hold them accountable for abusive policing, like when they illegally stopped me. The NYC Council has the power to make sure all stops are counted by passing the How Many Stops Act right away."
“We cannot wait any longer for the How Many Stops Act in the Bronx. We fought long and hard for the Right to Know Act, yet the people we serve are still stopped and searched without regard to their health and safety. How many more stops and searches are violating people’s rights? The How Many Stops Act would create a baseline of transparency and accountability that is fundamental to ensuring everyone’s basic safety and dignity. We call on the City Council to push the How Many Stops Act to the floor for a vote and pass it NOW, said Christine Rivera, policy counsel for The Bronx Defenders.
“The NYPD has a history of discriminatory policing aimed at Black and Brown communities that courts long ago found to be unconstitutional. But it is still allowed to operate under a veil of secrecy when it comes to most of the police encounters that take place every day,” said Obi Afriyie, Community Organizer at the Legal Defense Fund. “This cannot stand. We urge the City Council to pass the How Many Stops Act, which is a critical step towards documenting the full scope of the NYPD’s conduct during their encounters with New Yorkers, and providing the transparency New Yorkers deserve,” said David Moss, Policy Fellow at the Legal Defense Fund.
“Even “low-level” NYPD encounters can often be intimidating, humiliating and can even turn deadly for Black and Brown New Yorkers. Yet, for too long, those encounters have been shrouded in secrecy,” said Michael Sisitzky, assistant director of policy at NYCLU. “With an administration resorting to unlawful stops to harass and instill fear in Black and Brown New Yorkers, it is urgent for the City Council to pass the How Many Stops Act. These common sense bills would provide much needed transparency to a large span of the NYPD’s activities, and help communities expose potential abuse – the first step towards holding police accountable,” said Michael Sisitzky, assistant director of policy at NYCLU.
“LatinoJustice supports City Council Bills 538 & 586 “The How Many Stops Act” for it has the potential to bring much-needed transparency to the NYPD’s daily interactions with our communities. These bills champion accountability by requiring the NYPD to document all street encounters. They address concerns about police interactions impacting Black and Brown New Yorkers and will not compromise urgent, or necessary investigations. It’s time to enhance public safety through a comprehensive and inclusive approach. This September the New York City Council can start fostering better understanding and trust between the police and the communities they serve," said Robert Willis, Justice Advocate Coordinator LatinoJusticePRLDEF
“New Yorkers deserve complete transparency and accountability from the NYPD,” said Jennvine Wong, Staff Attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at The Legal Aid Society. “A system that allows officers to bury instances of misconduct by taking advantage of logistical loopholes is unjust and puts all New Yorkers, but particularly New Yorkers of color, at risk. The City Council must pass the How Many Stops Act immediately and stop allowing abusive and discriminatory policing to go unreported and the officers to go unpunished.”
“The time for police accountability and transparency in New York City is long overdue. The How Many Stops Act legislation will increase transparency and provide control around the NYPD’s responsibilities to report on investigative encounters and consent searches. Data collection is critical and key for completing the picture of what policing really looks like in New York City. We urge City Council to pass the How Many Stops Act this year,” said Carmen Perez-Jordan, President and CEO of the Gathering for Justice.
"The NY City Council should take up the How Many Stops Act to shed light on racially biased police stops. These bills are essential to building trust between law enforcement and communities." Michelle Feldman, Director of Partnerships, Center for Policing Equity.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.Topics: How Many Stops Act