Mayor Michael Bloomberg kept his promise to veto two controversial bills that could increase oversight of the NYPD.
“New York is the safest big city in the country, and the NYPD is the most professional and most effective police department in the country,” Bloomberg said in his veto message Tuesday. “It is also subject to more internal and external oversight than any other police department in the United States.”
The Community Safety Act, which proposes two bills, was approved by the City Council about three weeks ago. One of the bills creates an independent inspector general to share oversight of the NYPD with the police commissioner. The other bill will make it easier for people to take the department to court over discrimination.
Opponents of the bill are praising Bloomberg’s veto.
“It is not an exaggeration nor is it a doomsday threat to say that passage of this legislation is dangerous for the city and that it will turn the NYPD from a successful, crime fighting, proactive department back into the hesitant and reactive one we had during the crime filled days of the 80s and 90s,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick J. Lynch. “If these bills become law, it will force police officers to protect themselves against frivolous lawsuits instead of protecting the city from criminals.”
Supporters have already vowed to override the mayor’s veto. They believe the bills will end “abuse” of the stop-and-frisk policy, which they said overly targets minorities, and will help improve relations with cops.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to veto the Community Safety Act is another example of how out of touch this administration is with communities across the city,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie, who led a group of councilmembers and Borough President Helen Marshall to reaffirm their support of the bills in front of Queens Borough Hall.
“This Act will help build back the trust that is critical between precincts and their communities in order to find those who are actually breaking the law, and not the innocent people are who stopped every day,” Comrie added.
The City Council has 30 days to override the mayor’s veto.