Yesterday, the City Council began hearings on the Community Safety Act, a package of bills that would protect New Yorkers from unlawful searches by police, make profiling of any kind by officers illegal, and establish an Inspector General’s office that would independently oversee the NYPD. The hearing was as impassioned as you might expect for such an important subject.
Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) used an audiotape recently obtained by the Nation that showed officers telling a Bronx teenager he was being arrested “for being a fucking mutt” as he was being frisked as evidence that stop-and-frisk is a form of racial profiling. In the ensuing argument, Councilwoman Helen Foster (D-Bronx) told Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) “I do not work for you. I am not one of your boys. You will not talk to me like that,” after Vallone accused Jackson of making speeches on the floor.
Mayor Bloomberg’s office, it seems, is still desperately holding on to stop-and-frisk, despite overwhelming evidence that the practice is racially biased and ultimately not very effective. Michael Best, Bloomberg’s council, argued that the council would be superseding state law if it passed the Community Safety Act.
Tellingly, as Capital New York‘s Azi Paybarah points out, NYPD brass declined to comment at the hearing.
(Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)