Two bills that would significantly reform oversight of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) are nearing a crucial vote. The bills are scheduled to be voted out of committee early next week will then face a vote on the floor of the New York City Council.
One bill would substantially broaden protections against profiling by police.
The other would appoint a commissioner at an independent agency to oversee the NYPD. These reforms have been championed by a broad based coalition, Communities United for Police Reform, that includes the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
The profiling bill would expand to current prohibitions on profiling based on race, ethnicity and religion to prohibit officers from relying on:
actual or perceived race, national origin, color, creed, age, alienage or citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status as the determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action against an individual, rather than an individual’s behavior or other information or circumstances that links a person or persons to suspected unlawful activity.
The second bill would require that the commissioner of New York CIty’s Department of Investigations:
investigate, review, study, audit and make recommendations relating to the operations, policies, programs and practices, including ongoing partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, of the new york city police department with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of the department, increasing public safety, protecting civil liberties and civil rights, and increasing the public’s confidence in the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations.
Both bills are crucial steps forward in the struggle to make the NYPD more accountable to the people of the city that it serves. New York City residents can call their council members to encourage them to support both bills when they come to the floor.
Click here to identify your council member and find an easy script to guide your phone call, along with other action tips.