City Council to Force Stop-and-Frisk Bills Out of Committee

By Kristen Meriwether, Epoch Times
June 24, 2013 12:51 pm Last Updated: June 24, 2013 12:57 pm

NEW YORK—As the temperatures rise outside, things have been heating up inside the New York City Council and the Bloomberg Administration over the controversial NYPD practice of stop and frisk.

On Monday, those tensions hit a peak, with the City Council expected to force out from committee two bills aimed at easing tensions between the NYPD and communities of color.

“There is no community that should have to choose between safer streets and better policing,” Council Member Juaamne Williams said on the steps of City Hall Monday, June 24.

The bills had been sitting stagnant in Public Safety Committee after committee chair, Peter Vallone Jr., refused to bring the bills to a vote. 

Speaker Christine Quinn, who supports Intro 1079, but not intro 1080, will file a motion to discharge the bills at a Stated Meeting at 1:30 p.m. The move has never before been tried at City Council.

If the Council votes in favor of the discharge, which is expected, the full Council will vote on the bills Wednesday or Thursday.

“I have the dubious distinction of being the only chair in the history of the City Council to be gone around,” Vallone said with a chuckle from City Hall on Monday. “Normally it would be a bad thing, but I consider this a badge of honor.”

Vallone, who wrote an anti-racial profiling bill in 2004, said he had concerns over the language in the bill which would allow lawsuits against the city.

“It would blow a massive hole in the city budget,” Vallone said.

Opponents of the bill, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have said the bill would prevent police from using descriptions of suspects. Williams disagrees.

“If they (Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly) can show me in my bill where it says that, I will withdraw it,” Williams challenged.

Intro 1080 expands the racial profiling protections issued in 2004 to include sexual orientation, housing status, and immigration status, which Vallone said he had no problem with. It also expands the bill to allow for lawsuits to be brought against the city.

The Bloomberg administration has said this law would open the city up to a bevy of lawsuits.

Intro 1079 will create an inspector general at the NYPD to investigate instances of racial profiling. Supporters of the bill argue police forces with race tensions in other major cities, such as the LAPD, have used an inspector general. 

The Mayor held a press conference at 11 a.m. to challenge the laws. Check back with The Epoch Times for a recap of the mayor’s comments.