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Local News July 11, 2013  RSS feed

RPOCA To Pol: Flip On Frisk Vote

Reyna Urge To Stop Override Of Community Safety Veto
by Robert Pozarycki

The Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) has asked one of the neighborhood’s two City Council members to switch her vote on the Community Safety Act, charging the legislation passed last month makes the city a more dangerous place.

Acting on behalf of its board of directors, RPOCA President Paul Kerzner sent a letter on Tuesday, July 9, to City Council Member Diana Reyna urging her to vote against overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anticipated veto of the legislative package which creates an inspector general to oversee NYPD operations and provides greater legal recourse for any individual who believes they were unfairly targeted by police to be stopped, questioned and frisked.

Kerzner told Reyna the board was pleased that City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley “voted to support our local police ‘stop-and-frisk’ efforts, and we told her so,” but was “very surprised and disappointed” that Reyna supported the Community Safety Act.

“We send this formal letter in the hope that you would support Ridgewood’s traditional lower crime rate by voting at least against Intro. No. 1080 that, if implemented, would put street cops in a ‘straight jacket’ and tie their hands in protecting our seniors, our children and our middle-age residents from those who would use this new law—if it were passed—to further their criminal ends,” Kerzner wrote.

He went on to claim that “there are gang members in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods who no longer carry guns for fear of being apprehended in a ‘stop-and-frisk’ operation.”

“If the present policing policy is changed by the City Council, then these gang members will surely rearm, and the shooting rate and death rate will begin to climb again,” Kerzner added.

The Community Safety Act includes Intro. No. 1080, which reclassifies “racial profiling” under city law as “bias-based profiling” and prohibits police officers from stopping, questioning and frisking anyone solely on the basis of their race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation and other classifications. Police would only be permitted to take action against an individual based on their “behavior or other information or circumstances,” as noted in the legislation.

Intro. No. 1080 also grants greater avenues for individuals who believe they were unfairly targeted by the NYPD to file a lawsuit, but restricts potential awards to compensation for legal fees and mandating NYPD policy changes.

The other half of the Community Safety Act, Intro. No. 1079, would create the position of NYPD inspector general within the city’s Department of Investigation, the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting corruption within city government.

An NYPD inspector general would be responsible for working with the mayor and police commissioner on handling sensitive information and investigating any claims of police misconduct previously filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board and/or the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau.

In an early morning vote on June 27, the City Council passed both Intro. No. 1079 and Intro. No. 1080 with veto-proof majorities. Mayor Bloomberg publicly stated he would veto both pieces of legislation; he has up to 30 days after the vote to formally make his decision.

If and when the mayor vetoes the Community Safety Act, the City Council is expected to vote to override the mayor’s ruling. While Intro. No. 1079—which had the support of 41 of the 51 Council members—is expected to pass the City Council a second time, the fate of Intro. No. 1080 is not certain, as 34 City Council members—the exact number which constitutes the two-thirds majority needed to override a mayoral veto—voted for it on June 27.

Should one of the 34 City Council members who passed Intro. No. 1080 vote against overriding the mayor’s veto of it, the bill would be dead.