New York — Today, the City Council of New York overturned Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act. The Act includes two bills which establish more oversight over the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and reign in its unlawful practices.
One bill creates an independent inspector for the NYPD and the other will allow individuals to sue the NYPD over claims of racial profiling. The bill is a tremendous victory for community organizers and activists working to end racial profiling, specifically Communities United For Police Reform, of which NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc (LDF) is a member. Communities United For Police Reform is a coalition of various religious, ethnic, and political groups working together around the city to end discriminatory police practices.
The bill’s passage comes on the heels of a landmark decision by Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York which restricts the NYPD’s use of its controversial Stop-and-Frisk policy. Judge Scheindlin recently ruled that the NYPD implements Stop-and-Frisk in an unconstitutional manner and violates the rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Judge Scheindlin also ordered an independent monitor to oversee the NYPD.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, along with co-counsel, the Legal Aid Society, has filed a related lawsuit,
Davis v. City of New York, on behalf of plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the NYPD¹s policy and practice of stopping and arresting public housing residents and their guests for the purported crime of trespass.
“We’re thrilled that the City Council has recognized that the NYPD’s long history of racial profiling demands independent oversight,” said Christina Swarns, Director of the Criminal Justice Practice at the NAACP Legal
Defense Fund. “This is yet another victory for those seeking to create a safer community for all New Yorkers.”
“We’re both encouraged by the momentum in New York City towards creating a police department that serves all New Yorkers and optimistic that the same widespread support for more oversight will also apply to the manner in
which the NYPD polices public housing facilities,” said Johanna Steinberg, Senior Counsel in NAACP Legal
Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Practice.