LOWER MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed controversial City Council legislation Monday that would allow New Yorkers to sue the NYPD over an expanded definition of racial profiling, as well as create an inspector general to oversee the department, and called the proposed bills “dangerous.”
Bloomberg, joined by NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, a host of city district attorneys — including retired Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau — and police union officials, blasted the two bills, saying the legislation would have disastrous effects on the city’s hard-won safety numbers.
“Let me urge the council members who represent those districts to consider the results before voting on bills that will make quick action by a police commissioner and proactive policing by police officers extinct in our city, “ Bloomberg said at the 1 Police Plaza press conference.
“New Yorkers must have policing that respects everyone’s rights — including everyone’s right to be safe on the streets. What we mustn't have is what these laws would create: a police department pointlessly hampered by outside intrusion, and recklessly threatened by second-guessing from the courts.”
Bloomberg and Kelly both argued that the city’s record-low crime numbers are based on effective police tactics — and that these bills would drastically alter the way the NYPD works, both by tying up police in frivolous lawsuits and adding a confusing and unnecessary level of oversight from an inspector general.
The only group that would benefit from the bills would be lawyers handling the mass of unnecessary suits, Bloomerberg said.
"Every tort lawyer is going to buy a new house and new car right away," he said."They don't even have to wait for the cases to come in."
Kelly added that potential terrorists could also be a beneficiary of the measure to create an inspector general, saying certain strategic NYPD "partners" wouldn't want to face the added scrutiny of the inspector general.
"Take heart al-Qaida wannabes, because the City Council has found a way to undermine our partners that the NYPD has carefully constructed over the last decade with both domestic and foreign entities," he said. “If you think our partners will stand by the ill-conceived notion of an inspector general, think again. They will simply walk away." district attorney from 1975 until 2009
The bills, co-sponsored by Brooklyn councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander have, in part, been a reaction to the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policies, and they seek to beef up protections against racial profiling of civilians.
In a joint statement released by Williams and Landor, the councilmen said that Bloomberg, Kelly and the police officers unions "have spouted many untruths to try to make us afraid of these bills, but New Yorkers just aren’t buying it."
“This legislation uses the same definition of profiling as the City’s current racial profiling law, and ensures that it can be enforced, expands protections to LGBTQ, immigrant, and other New Yorkers, and protects New Yorkers from policies that are unintentionally discriminatory," they said in statement.
The City Council is slated to take a historic “motion to discharge” vote on the bills Monday, which would allow the legislation to bypass a bill’s usual committee process, and send the proposal directly to the floor of the council for a vote.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has backed the inspector general proposal.