From the City Council to the courts.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday against the City Council to challenge a law that would make it easier for people to sue the city in discrimination cases.
The mayor’s latest move in the battle over the controversial Community Safety Act only targets the profiling measure and doesn’t include the law that creates an inspector general.
The profiling law will expand biased-based protection from ethnicity, religion and national origin to age, gender, sexual orientation and other categories. It allows individuals to sue in state courts and seek declaratory or injunctive relief, such as asking a judge change the city’s practices, instead of monetary damages.
Bloomberg said in the lawsuit the profiling law “exceeds the bounds of permissible legislation in the Council,” because changing criminal procedure law is restricted for the state legislature.
“There’s an important principle at stake here,” Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said in a statement. “Local legislative bodies should not be passing laws affecting the regulation of law enforcement activity in this way.”
The Community Safety Act was originally passed on June 26, following strong support from minority groups, who said they were being unfairly targeted by the Police Department. Statistics show cops stop-and-frisk minorities with about a 9:1 ratio to whites.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin recently ruled stop-and-frisk was being used unconstitutionally, but Bloomberg said the policy has resulted in lowering crime and gun possession and has filed to appeal the decision.
Opponents of the Community Safety Act believe the profiling bill will tie up the Police Department in court.
Last week a Queens black man was the first person to file a lawsuit against the city over alleged illegal stop-and-frisk, following Scheindlin’s ruling.
Allen Moye, 55, of Jamaica, was stopped three years ago and arrested, but charges were dropped, according to reports.
Queens opponents of the new laws are supporting Bloomberg’s lawsuit.
“I am hopeful that it will be successful in overturning the most dangerous bill ever enacted and removing the handcuffs the City Council has placed on our police officers,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., “All this legislation does is hand over control of the NYPD to the courts and control of our streets to violent criminals.”
The City Council now has 20 days to file a response.
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- Op-Ed: Community Safety Act: Setting the record straight