Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Commissioner Ray Kelly and police unions have engaged in baseless fear-mongering about the Community Safety Act, which would create an inspector general for the NYPD and an enforceable ban on discriminatory profiling.
We reject the assertion that the NYPD’s extreme use of stop and frisk has kept the city safe. We need reforms that protect civil rights and improve oversight and safety. That’s why the City Council should vote Thursday to override Bloom-berg’s veto of the two bills.
Through our experiences in the NYPD, we’ve witnessed abuses of stop and frisk, racial profiling and quota systems. These practices create mistrust between communities and the police, undercutting safety.
The Bloomberg administration tried to use this week’s gun bust to defend stop and frisk, but those guns were recovered through good investigative police work. During Bloomberg, stop and frisk has rarely resulted in the recovery of guns — the NYPD’s own data shows guns were recovered from less than 0.2 percent of stops. While Bloomberg claims credit for a large decrease in homicides, the dramatic drop occurred before he took office — from 2,245 homicides in 1990 to 649 in 2001. There has been no consistent correlation between stop and frisks and murders, as both decreased last year and both have increased together in previous years as well.
So Bloomberg, Kelly and the police unions have doubled down with their scare tactics. Their inaccurate assertions — telling the public and officers that crime will go up and the legislation will prevent the use of race in suspect descriptions — are irresponsible. They’re a disservice to our officers and the public, and a sign of an administration fighting to save face.
New Yorkers, a federal court and people throughout the country have come to realize that the administration’s stop-and-frisk policy is out of control. Officers and New Yorkers know better than to believe that police must violate the rights of our neighbors to achieve safety. The argument that outlawing racial profiling will endanger us is ridiculous.
The City Council should choose sound public policy and policing over the politics of Bloomberg. Overriding his veto and making the Community Safety Act law is the way forward for public safety.