CITY HALL — A package of police reforms proposed by the City Council shows a "significant mistrust" of police officers and represents "unprecedented intrusions into the operational management" of the police department, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton testified during a council hearing Monday.
The "Right to Know Act" would require officers to identify themselves and explain why the individual is being stopped or questioned. They would also have to explain that individuals can deny consent to a search in certain instances. Other legislation would make the use of chokeholds illegal and require the NYPD to submit a quarterly report on the use of force.
"In sum, the position of the department is that many of the bills currently under consideration today are better achieved through collaboration and dialogue between the council and the department, and among various city agencies and community stakeholders, rather than through legislation," Bratton said.
The commissioner, who will receive 1,300 new police officers under the city's budget deal, said the community policing model that will be enacted as a result "will change many aspects of how cops and community interact — and thereby address many of the concerns that underlie the bills we're considering today."
For example, Bratton said, the NYPD is altering its definition of chokehold to closely match what's in the chokehold legislation proposed by Queens Councilman Rory Lancman.
Bratton also said use of force by police is down 34 percent from 2010 to 2014. In 2014, only 1.8 percent of arrest involved force compared to 2.5 percent in 2010.
As for the consent to search law, Bratton said the impetus for the law — stop-and-frisk and low level marijuana arrests — have both declined dramatically since Bill de Blasio became mayor and picked him as police commissioner.
"Let's give peace a chance," Bratton said.
Lawrence Byrne, the NYPD deputy commissioner for legal matters, said the council was overstepping its boundaries.
"We don't believe the council should, as a matter of judgment, contradict state law," Byrne said.
The council rejected the ideas that collaboration would be enough to solve issues and that they were overstepping their boundaries.
"Each of us has seen a problem in our neighborhood, in or districts," Lancman said.
Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres said the council has the right to shape the policies of city agencies without being accused of micromanaging or overstepping boundaries.
"There's no telling who will be mayor three years from now, eight years from now," Torres said about the need for police reform legislation as opposed to administrative policy shifts.
Mayor Bill de Blasio opposes the laws in question.
"I think there's a better way forward," the mayor said Monday at an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has not taken an official position on the bills but has "expressed reservations" about the "Right to Know Act," according to sources on her staff.