CPR Statement Re: Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Speech Defending Stop-and-Frisk
Communities United for Police Reform released the following statement in response to Mayor Bloomberg’s speech on police reform:
"Mayor Bloomberg is woefully out-of-touch with New Yorkers who are overwhelmingly demanding reforms at the same time as community safety,” said Joo-Hyun Kang, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “His criticism of communities standing up to defend their rights from his abusive policing policies is reminiscent of his effort to overturn the voices of voters on term limits. The Council should pass these common sense Community Safety Act bills to ban discriminatory profiling and establish effective oversight for the NYPD, and Bloomberg should cease with his dangerous scare tactics."
The Community Safety Act contains four important bills. Intro 800-A (anti-profiling bill) would ban profiling based on race, religion, immigration status, housing status, sexual orientation gender identity or expression, and other protected categories. Intro 881 (Inspector General bill) would create a strong inspector general, with subpoena power, to investigate the policies and procedures of the NYPD. Intro 799 would protect New Yorkers against unlawful searches by requiring officers to inform New Yorkers of their legal rights. Intro 801 would increase transparency in police-civilian encounters by requiring officers to identify themselves andexplain why they are stopping someone.
Significant amendments to the anti-profiling bill have been made since its introduction in February 2012 as Intro 800.
The amended version Intro. 800-A would prohibit bias-based profiling by law enforcement officers and the bill:
- Establishes a strong and enforceable ban on profiling and discrimination by the New York City Police Department.
- Expands the categories of individuals protected from discrimination. The current prohibition covers race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin. Intro 800-A would expand this to also include: age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status.
- A meaningful ”private right of action” would be created.
- Plaintiffs would be able to bring intentional discrimination claims and/or disparate impact claims.
Changes to Intro. 800-A
Several important changes have been made in Intro. 800-A to improve the bill from the original version (Intro 800, originally introduced on February 29, 2012), based on feedback at the City Council hearing (October 10, 2012), and many conversations with stakeholders. With those changes, Intro 800-A would:
- Not allow plaintiffs to seek monetary damages, but instead injunctive and declaratory relief (i.e. changes to policy, training, etc. to address the problem)
- Utilize the definition of profiling currently in the NYC Human Rights Law, that prohibits using the profile as a “determinative factor,” rather “to any degree” (i.e. it would clearly be permissible to include identifying information about suspects in descriptions).
- Not include supervisors amongst those that action would be obtained against.
- The categories of language, socioeconomic status and occupation, which were included in Intro. 800, would not be added as new protected classes.
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 policing practices based on cooperation and respect– not discriminatory targeting and harassment.
CPR brings 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 unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. CPR is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.