Saturday, August 24, 2013

New York City Council Overrides Bloomberg Veto Of Policing Bills

Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin recently ruled that the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices violate the constitutional rights of blacks and Hispanics in NYC and amount to racial profiling. In a second blow to the policing policies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the City Council overrode the mayor's veto of the Community Safety Act, which increases oversight of the NYPD through two bills:

More than two years in the making, the CSA is made up of a pair of bills, one that will create an independent inspector general position to monitor and review NYPD policies and practices, and make non-binding recommendations to the mayor and police commissioner; and another that will expand the categories of individuals who will be protected against profiling by the department. Currently, the department is banned from profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion and national origin. This second bill will extend protection based on age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability and housing status, and allow individuals to bring discrimination claims against the department if they believe they’ve been unfairly profiled.

...“No one on this floor is anti-NYPD, we’re anti policies that aren’t working,” Council Member Jumaane Williams said before the general session vote. “This is about civil rights.”

AP Photo: Seth Wenig


Michael J. Mand said...

Police work has always involved profiling. On January 12, 1982, I was attacked by a male, Hispanic, about age 20 - 25, 5' 9'' tall. When looking for my attacker, I would hope that police would be looking for a person that matched my description.

The problem with stop and frisk, as far as I am concerned, is not racial profiling - I would hope that if it is agreed that 75% of crimes in a certain neighbborhood are shown to be committed by Norwegians named Sven, that 75% of those stopped in that neighborhood would be Norwegians named Sven. The problem is the randomness of the stops and that they maight be done without real merit. The policy of stop and frisk may, in fact, be effective in the immediate sense (especially if 12% of the stops lead to further action), but it is the creation of an environment of mistrust that must be considered when we evaluate the wisdom of such a policy. That as well as a possible violation of the Fourth Amendment.

I caution those, like myself, who oppose stop and frisk, to choose their arguments wisely, and not to throw every potential point at the debate in the hopes that something sticks.

Jeff Tone said...

Your examples, both real and imagined, do not involve racial profiling. They involve the characteristics of a specific attacker.

Racial profiling is indeed part of the problem of stop-and-frisk, and cannot be separated from the randomness and lack of merit. Stop those, whether more or less 12 percent, who merit stopping.

Judge Scheindlin said that stop-and-frisk, as practiced by the NYPD, is unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

Michael J. Mand said...

And it's that last point that is, barring an overturn on appeal, the only legitimate, unchallengeable argument against "stop and frisk". But it is a rather strong argument.