Community Organizations, Advocates, and Elected Officials Rally for Passage of NYPD Transparency Legislation, the How Many Stops Act
New York, NY - Today, the families of Antonio Williams and Allan Feliz (New Yorkers killed by NYPD in 2019), Communities United for Police Reform member and partners, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, City Councilmembers Alexa Avilés and Crystal Hudson, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, other elected officials and New Yorkers from across the city rallied at City Hall Park to demand passage of the How Many Stops Act.
The How Many Stops Act is a package of two city bills (intros 586 and 538) that will require full reporting of the NYPD’s most common interactions with New Yorkers. The rally was held just ahead of a city council hearing on the package and follows on the heels of last week's preliminary budget hearings as the NYPD has faced mounting criticism of their bloated budget size, exorbitant overtime spending, and lack of accountability.
“The How Many Stops Act is a common sense, good government package that will bring much-needed transparency to the NYPD,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Sponsor of Intro. 538. “I’m proud to join Communities United for Police Reform as a prime sponsor of the How Many Stops Act. We must assure our communities that the NYPD will be held accountable and that our City is committed to ending the culture of impunity and abuse that pervades the department. This package will give New Yorkers a more complete picture of the police department's activities in our communities, mandating the full and accurate reporting of police interactions with the public, and ensure the NYPD is adhering to the City’s Right to Know Act, creating safer communities for us all.”
"I look forward to today’s hearing on the How Many Stops Act, where we will make the case for greater accountability and transparency from the NYPD," said Council Member Alexa Avilés. "With 27 Council Members signed onto Intros 583 and 586, we have more than the majority we need to pass this bill and our coalition is only growing. I urge all New Yorkers to come testify and together we will get this critical legislation passed.”
“Passing the bills in the How Many Stops Act, which the Council will hear today, is vital for advancing community safety and the work that has been underway since I came into government over a decade ago. The 'right to know' includes the right to critical information about whether and how policing reforms are being implemented on the ground in our communities. In a moment where the tragic results of law enforcement encounters gone wrong fill our headlines, our screens, and our minds, this legislation is urgent. Sharing information on the number and nature of law enforcement stops, will help to improve transparency, accountability, and outcomes," said Jumaane D. Williams, NYC Public Advocate, co-lead sponsor of How Many Stops Act bill, Intro 586.
“My son’s murder started with a reasonable suspicionless stop, just like the NYPD murder of Eric Garner. Even though, in 2013, the courts ruled that the NYPD was making unconstitutional stops, the abuse has continued and, as my son’s case proves this. The systemic lack of transparency in the NYPD is what allows these unjust practices to continue and as long as they do there will just be more abuse and more lives will be lost. That’s why passing the How Many Stops Act is a matter of life and death,” said Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams who was killed by the NYPD in 2019.
“If we had more transparency about how the NYPD is using low level stops to harass and abuse Black and Latinx New Yorkers before Antonio was killed, maybe he would still be here today. If officers are forced to report EVERY stop and why they are making them, they’ll be less likely to use these stops in illegal and abusive ways, because they know they’ll be exposed. That’s why my family and other families who’ve lost loved ones to the NYPD areis calling on the City Council to pass the How Many Stops Act immediately!” said Gladys Williams, stepmother of Antonio Williams who was killed by the NYPD in 2019.
“These days, the NYPD is running rampant in my neighborhood in Washington Heights. Only about 3 months ago, Neighborhood Safety Officers rolled up on me and a group I was with. One of the cops asked to search me, but he kept his hand on his gun the whole time. I said yes because I felt like saying no could be deadly. The Right to Know Act law that New Yorkers fought for and won in 2017 requires officers to gain “voluntary, knowing and intelligent consent” to search you without probable cause. This was not consent. It was coercion and intimidation. Gaining full transparency about the NYPD's use of consent searches through the How Many Stops Act is essential for ending this abuse,” stated Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz, killed by NYPD in 2019.
“If we truly want to address public safety, New York must prioritize police accountability. Bringing transparency to some of the most common policing interactions in the City is critical to prevent abuse and brutality in our criminal legal system. The How Many Stops Act will provide necessary oversight of NYPD operations to accurately root out violence and racism in our police system,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander.
“For most everyday New Yorkers, when we are approached by the NYPD we have no idea why we are being engaged, confronted or stopped. These daily interactions are frightening and stressful, can often escalate, and at their worst, result in police brutality and even death,” stated Steve Kohut, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform and member of the Justice Committee. “From level 3 stop data, we know the NYPD disproportionately targets Black and Latinx communities, but we do not have anywhere close to a full picture of the extent of the problem: we have no idea how many people are being stop and questioned by police, in what neighborhoods or the reasons and outcomes of these encounters. Passing the How Many Stops Act will bring urgently needed transparency and oversight to the black box of policing activities that impact our communities daily. This transparency is an essential step towards NYPD accountability and true community safety,” he continued.
Currently, the NYPD is only required to report on level 3 stops, commonly known as stop-and-frisk. Of these, Black and Latino/a/x residents made up 87% of stops as of 2021. Given these disparities and the grave harms caused by unnecessary police interactions, advocates are demanding that the NYPD be required to report every stop they make.
The How Many Stops Act (Intros 538 sponsored by Councilmember Crystal Hudson and 586 co-sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilmember Alexa Aviles) will require the NYPD to report on low-level police street stops and encounters, including where they happen, demographic information on the person stopped, the reason for the encounter, and whether the encounter leads to any use of force or enforcement action. It would also require the NYPD to fully report on their use of consent searches, searches in which a police officer needs no probable cause to search a person or their belongings if the person gives permission. Together, the bills will give a fuller and clearer picture into how the NYPD is interacting with New Yorkers across the city.
“Despite taking billions and billions of the public’s money every year, the NYPD consistently fails to demonstrate accountability to the same public that funds them. The public deserves to know who is being stopped, where, and why so that we can identify patterns and hold the NYPD accountable for profiling and harassment – and the fact that nearly nine out of every 10 New Yorkers stopped by the NYPD are Black and Brown people proves that we can’t wait to do so. When I passed the Right to Know Act as Councilmember, this City took a huge step toward improving the way NYPD interacts with our communities – but that was years ago and City Council must carry that momentum for justice forward by passing the How Many Stops Act. Thank you to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Councilmembers Alexa Avilés, Tiffany Cabán, and Crystal Hudson, Communities United for Police Reform, and the many other advocates who have come together to take action and do right by our people,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
"If one thing became crystal clear in last week's preliminary budget hearing, it's that we owe the people of New York a much greater degree of oversight, transparency, and accountability where policing and police misconduct are concerned. The way the Police Department's oath-bound testimony was contradicted by the CCRB's left no room for doubt: the Department has been operating with multiple levels of secrecy for far too long. It's time we had some questions answered. Among those questions: How many stops? I'm proud to support this legislation and the broader fight for a transparent, accountable city," said Council Member Tiffany Cabán.
"As an organization that primarily works with working class Arab and Muslim communities, the Arab American Association of New York is deeply aware of how people of oppressed backgrounds are often targeted by unlawful police stops. We hear from our community members how their encounters with police result in unjust harassment and intimidation, a blatantly obvious result of racial profiling,” stated Salma Allam, Coalition Organizer at the Arab American Association of New York. “Decades worth of data have proven that the police disproportionately stop people of color on the streets; however, this data is incomplete because NYPD is currently not required to document level 1 and 2 stops. AAANY is actively rallying around the How Many Stops Act because we all have the right to feel safe in our neighborhoods—and in order to ensure our safety, we need to have the full picture of what police encounters actually look like. Police transparency is a truly urgent need for us as our communities fight back against an increasingly violent system of policing,"
"Mayor Adams talks about increasing police presence into our neighborhoods because it’s important that people feel safe but we are not safe. They are not connecting us to services, they are not protecting or serving us or treating us with care or courtesy. Instead they are surveilling us, harassing us, brutalizing us and occupying our neighborhoods. That is not safety. We need transparency and oversight and that’s why I am fighting for the How Many Stops Act!" said Ibrahim X, VOCAL-NY Leader.
“Passing the How Many Stops Act is an important step forward in repairing the damage that the NYPD has caused by their harmful practices that impact LGBTQ+ and HIV-affected communities, particularly our Black, Latine, and indigenous communities and other racialized or marginalized groups. Accountability for the NYPD is a vital part of any trust-building, and this bill provides a necessary step to improving how the NYPD interacts with New Yorkers,” said Catherine Shugrue dos Santos, Deputy Executive Director of Programs for the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
"As public defenders in the Bronx, we see every day how the police continue to stop and search the people we represent without regard to their rights or safety. They do it blatantly, even on body camera. And that's only the cases we see that result in charges. How many more stops and searches are going on that are violating people's rights without anyone knowing? At the end of the day, everyone in this city wants to feel and be safe. But we cannot achieve true public safety without a clear picture of the police's role, especially in communities that have historically borne the brunt of racist and discriminatory policing," said Christine Rivera, Policy Counsel at The Bronx Defenders.
"The NYPD continues to underreport stops and encounters, making it difficult to hold them accountable for unconstitutional and racially discriminatory enforcement. City Council must pass the How Many Stops Act to bring transparency to policing in NYC and to highlight the experiences of New Yorkers most impacted by unlawful policing practices," said Samah Sisay, Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
“How many lies and stops before our communities get the respect they deserve? We at LatinoJustice,PRLDEF demand comprehensive accounting of all NYPD street stops and true transparency from police,” said Robert Willis, Justice Advocate Coordinator at LatinoJustice, PRLDEF.
"The How Many Stops Act promises to make powerful data accessible to communities and advocates. At a systemic level, a complete accounting of police encounters is essential to identifying and challenging unlawful and discriminatory policing patterns. At an individual level, a paper trail helps attorneys get justice for clients targeted by the police," said Molly Griffard, Staff Attorney at Law Reform and Special Litigation Unit at The Legal Aid Society.
“Police transparency is a racial justice issue, and it is long past time that the NYPD provides a comprehensive picture of how they work and what they have hidden from public view. As the Adams administration continues to cling to broken windows policing, inflicting real harm and emotional distress on overwhelmingly Black and Brown New Yorkers, the City Council must immediately pass the How Many Stops Act to require a full accounting of all NYPD stops and consent searches in our communities. New Yorkers deserve transparency and accountability, not a police force that operates with impunity,” said Michael Sisitzky, Assistant Policy Director at the New York Civil Liberties.
“It is essential we pass the How Many Stops Act which will ensure transparency of the NYPD’s daily activities and address the abuse of police power we continue to see in New York City and nationwide. Two decades of data show people who are stopped and frisked are most likely to be people of color, and disproportionately Black. Federal monitor, Peter Zimroth, repeatedly noted in his reports that the NYPD were not properly documenting and reporting its stops, stating in his 2021 report that the number of reported stops from 2016 to 2019 are unreliable “given the likelihood of significant numbers of unreported stops.” The history, data, and reports are all clear – NYC and the NYPD lack accurate and complete data on stops in NYC. We must correct this and pass the How Many Stops Act. Transparency is the first step towards accountability and true community safety,” said President and CEO, Carmen Perez-Jordan, at The Gathering for Justice.
"Collecting, analyzing and sharing policing data has the power to drive meaningful reforms that address racial disparities and improve public safety. By passing these bills, New York City would join an increasing number of localities who are mandating the reporting of essential police data. For example, in 2015 California passed a bill requiring all departments in the state to collect comprehensive data on police stops, which has led to significant policy changes,” said Michelle Feldman, Director of Partnerships, Center of Policing Equity.
“Defending Rights & Dissent strongly believes in the peoples’ right to know. The How Many Stops Act empowers the public and informs policy debates by requiring that information who’s stopped and why be made available to the public. This transparency legislation will be one step of many towards ensuring that policing powers are not weaponized against Black and Brown communities. We applaud the organizers fighting for this bill and urge the City Council to pass this necessary legislation,” said Sue Udry, Executive Director for Defending Rights & Dissent.
“Transparency is always necessary for integrity to hold its rightful place in any system that is called to protect and to serve. This is not a hard thing to do, it’s a heart thing to do! Instead, we see our Black and Latinx communities disproportionately affected by the abuse of power of NYPD members, which is traumatic to our people. The community is losing its patience with hearing the excuses of what can and cannot be done for police accountability! The NYPD must listen to the voices of the people and change their trajectory to a culture of transparency, and one that actually protects and serves. We are calling on the City Council to take faithful action for the people and pass the How Many Stops Act!” said Rev. Franklin A. Wilson Jr. at Faith in New York.
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