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Racial Profiling Bill Backers Look to Flip Votes Ahead of Veto Override

 Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
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DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

NEW YORK CITY — Ever since the City Council passed a bill in late June to make it easier to sue the NYPD over racial profiling, the focus has been almost entirely on whether one of the 34 council votes that made up the thinnest of veto-proof majorities could be flipped to kill an override of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s promised veto.

But while Bloomberg worked over supporters of the bill looking to flip votes, their colleagues have been lobbying a number of councilmembers who initially voted against the bill to flip the other way to strengthen the override effort.

The list of potential votes is very short once adamantly opposed Republicans and more conservative Democrats, as well as Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her allies, are accounted for.

So far, none of the remaining members who acknowledged being approached, like Bronx Councilman Joel Rivera, are willing to make the jump.

“I have spoken to some of my colleagues, who are testing the waters to see if there's a possibility,” Rivera said. “My vote is my vote, and I stand by it, so I’ll be continuing my support for the inspector general bill, but I will not be voting in favor of the override for the profiling bill.”

Despite the tepid response, the backers of the profiling bill continue to believe the votes will be there when the veto override comes up for a vote later this month.

“I am confident in the commitment of the ‘Core 34’ to overriding the mayor’s veto,” said Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams in a statement, “just as I am hopeful that the 17 other members will reconsider their earlier positions, based on our continued discussions on the merits of this legislation, and vote in favor of banning bias-based profiling in our city.”

Bloomberg and his law enforcement allies have aggressively targeted three Democrat council members who supported the bill. The mayor even went so far as to have a top aides scout Republican candidates in Queens to run against one of the three, Councilman Mark Weprin.

Most recently, reports have surfaced of a push to place Brooklyn Democratic Councilman Erik Martin Dilan at the head of the city’s Board of Elections before the council meets later this month for a vote to override Bloomberg’s July 23 veto of the police profiling bill.