The New York City Council voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the controversial Community Safety Act.
The act contains two bills, one that will create an inspector general to oversee the activities of the police department and have subpoena power, while the other bill will make it easier for people to sue the NYPD over racial profiling.
The racial profiling bill override passed 34-15 on Thursday and the inspector general bill override passed 39-10. The profiling measure will go into effect 90 days after the vote and the inspector general will be appointed by the new mayor in January.
Bloomberg expressed his disagreement with the override in a statement after the City Council meeting and vowed to fight the bills before they go in effect.
“Make no mistake; the communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City’s historic crime reductions,” Bloomberg said. “It is a dangerous piece of legislation and we will ask the courts to step in before innocent people are harmed.”
Opponents of the bills believe that the NYPD doesn’t need to have another monitor and that the racial profiling bill will cause officers and the police department to be tied up in court, instead of fighting crime.
“The role to have permanent oversight of the police department belongs to the police commissioner, belongs to the City Council members who serve on the Public Safety Committee, which refused to pass these laws to begin with,” Councilmember Eric Ulrich said. “This is not going to lower crime; the only thing it’s going to lower is the moral of the police department.”
Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who was against the bills, missed the vote to move his daughters into the University of Notre Dame. “The city just became less safe,” Vallone tweeted.
Supporters of the bills believe that minorities were unfairly targeted by the stop-and-frisk policy and the bills were necessary to stop racial profiling.
“This vote for me is a very easy one,” Councilmember Mark Weprin said. “I have no choice but to vote what I believe in my heart. And I feel very strongly that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. This is a policy that needs to be reformed.”
Supporters also believe that the bill will improve relations between the cops and minorities.
“By reforming this policy, these residents will be less likely to second guess a police officer’s intentions and be more willing to help them in their investigation,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “I am proud to vote with my colleagues in overturning the mayor’s veto and would like to thank them for helping to make this city a safer place to live.”