Bloomberg Sues to Stop Police Bias Law, Saying it Overreaches
CIVIC CENTER — Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office has asked a state court to invalidate the recently passed City Council law to counter racial profiling by police because it treads on state authority.
In the brief filed with the Manhattan State Supreme Court on Tuesday, the city argued that the new profiling law “seeks to regulate criminal procedure — an area that is preempted” by current state law.
“The mayor made clear in his veto message that this anti-profiling measure is illegal — and today we are taking action on his behalf to prevent the law from taking effect,” said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo of the City Law Department. “This suit is necessary to prevent the City Council from enacting laws where the state’s exclusive authority has been established.”
He added, “Local legislative bodies should not be passing laws affecting the regulation of law enforcement activity in this way. This is a matter governed by the state Legislature.”
The city argues that the state law governing policing throughout New York “is the sole source of procedure for criminal actions, proceedings, and matters.”
“It ensures that people throughout the state are subject to the same laws and standards and avoids the confusion and unequal treatment that would result if different jurisdictions had different procedural rules,” the court filing argued.
The City Council’s law inappropriately looks to “regulate criminal procedure” in the city by making it easier to sue individual officers, as well as the police department, over “biased-based profiling” in both federal and state court, according to court papers.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn responded to the court action in a statement, saying, "Mayor Bloomberg can sue all he wants, but at the end of the day, we will successfully beat back this ill-advised litigation and ensure the prerogative of the City Council to reform stop and frisk."