Bloomberg and Kelly; series of legal and political reversals
In a blow to Michael Bloomberg’s legacy as mayor of New York City for 12 years The City Council overrode his veto today and created an Inspector General to review police practices and stamp out illegal Stop-and-Frisks based only on racial profiling.
The rebuke to the mayor comes in the heels of U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin’s ruling that Stop-and-Frisk was unconstitutional.
The vote overrides could harm Christine Quinn’s mayoral run.
She had promised to keep Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner. Kelly and Bloomberg are champions of Stop-and-Frisk, denounced by some foes as apartheid form of policing. Over 80% of the people stopped are Black or Latino and in nine out of 10 cases the people stopped are found with no weapons or contraband and are let go, puncturing Mayor Bloomberg’s argument that the unconstitutional tactic reduces gun murders.
The Council voted 39 – 10 approve the bill and reject Bloomberg’s recent veto. The council also 34 – 15 overrode Bloomberg’s veto of a second bill which allows civilians to sue the New York Police Department if the police use racial profiling in determining whether to stop them.
Quinn, the Council speaker and mayoral candidate, voted against the anti- racial profiling bill.
She had once been the front runner among Democratic challengers vying to replace Bloomberg. In recent weeks Bill de Blasio, the Public Advocate and mayoral candidate has surged to pass her.
The Inspector General would monitor the NYPD in general while, separately a federal monitor appointed after the Scheindlin ruling would monitor the Police’s Stop-and-Frisk practices.
“Today is a victory for civil rights, safety and the people of our great city, whose voices have been heard,”said Joo-Hyun Kang, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). “New Yorkers want to live in a city where equality and justice matter and today’s vote confirms those are the foundation of our city’s values. We’re proud of council members who stood up for the people of New York City today and were national leaders in meeting President Obama’s challenge to ensure government policies prohibit profiling. The protections in these laws are historic and will help to ensure New Yorkers will not be profiled because of who they are and are treated with dignity and respect by their police department.”
“This is a big day for New York City and America,” added Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO. “This is the beginning of the end of our democracy tolerating police using race, ethnicity, LGBT-status, or faith as a substitute for reasonable suspicion. We are thankful to the 34 City Council members who heroically stood up for the American ideals of freedom and justice, and stood together in the face of fact-defying and fear-mongering by the Mayor and Commissioner. As we move on to the March on Washington this weekend, we can do so knowing we have moved New York City and our nation one step closer to realizing Dr. King’s dream.”
De Blasio, as well as New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John C. Liu, supported both the bills.
Anthony Weiner, the former Congressman and Bill Thompson, the former Comptroller, both of whom are Democratic candidates for mayor, opposed both bills.
Liu is the only candidate who said early in the campaign that as mayor he would ban Stop-and-Frisk.