In another blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policing policies, the New York City Council voted on Thursday to override his vetoes of legislation that would strengthen oversight of the NYPD.
The vote comes off the heels of an Aug. 12 decision in which federal judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” tactic was unconstitutional and promoted “indirect racial profiling.” Bloomberg has argued the policy isn’t racial profiling and plans on appealing the ruling.
The City Council first passed the Community Safety Act in June. It would establish an inspector general (with subpoena power) to review the policies and practices of the NYPD. It would also make it easier for residents to sue in state court if they felt authorities were unfairly targeting them.
Bloomberg vetoed the bills last month, saying they were unnecessary and would put the city’s safety at risk.
However, on Thursday, the City Council voted 39-10 to override the mayor’s veto of a bill to establish the inspector general and 34-15 for the bill to make it easier to bring claims against the NYPD. The votes of at least 34 of the council’s 51 members are required to override a mayoral veto.
While civil rights groups and minority advocates applauded the decision after the vote, the mayor issued a statement saying the legislation will make it harder for police officers to protect New Yorkers. He said he will “ask the courts to step in before innocent people are harmed.”
“Make no mistake: the communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City’s historic crime reductions,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “Both bills outsource management of the NYPD to unaccountable officials, making it harder for the next mayor and police commissioner to make the decisions they believe necessary to keep our city safe.”
Bloomberg argued the overriding of his veto occurred because there are elections this year. Stop-and-frisk and police tactics has become a contentious issue in the race.