NAACP president calls council members ‘heroic’
Praises override vote on NYPD tactics
The 34 City Council members who voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act – legislation that creates an inspector general to monitor the New York Police Department – performed a heroic act, the president of the NAACP said Thursday.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said the vote marked a turning point for New York. “This is the beginning of the end of our democracy tolerating police using race, ethnicity, LGBT-status, or faith as a substitute for reasonable suspicion. We are thankful to the 34 City Council members who heroically stood up for the American ideals of freedom and justice, and stood together in the face of fact-defying and fear-mongering by the mayor and commissioner,” he said.
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had charged that the legislation, aimed at stopping the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, would result in crime increases because cop’s hands would be tied.
The council vote, which took place on Thursday, drew a flurry of reaction from elected officials and candidates.
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, who served as a deputy mayor in the Giuliani Administration, said he was “outraged” by the council’s action.
“These overrides were an appalling display of political pandering at the expense of New Yorker’s safety. These bills will have a devastating impact on the NYPD’s ability to proactively fight crime in this city. Plain and simple, they are bad public policy. The candidates who support these bills have shown New Yorkers that they are not prepared to lead this city,” Lhota said.
State Sen. Marty Golden a retired police officer, blasted the council’s vote. “The blood of the innocent is now on the hands of the City Council members who supported this flawed and misguided piece of legislation,” Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) said.
“As a former police officer, I can tell you that instituting these policies will tie the hands of the New York City Police Department, make the job of a police officer harder, and make being a successful criminal easier,” Golden added.
Democrat Sal Albanese, who is running for mayor, had this reaction to the override vote. “The City Council just bought $2 million worth of red tape with taxpayer money, but did absolutely nothing to improve public safety or protect civil liberties,” the former Bay Ridge councilman said.
In his statement, George McDonald, a Republican running for mayor, referred to Democratic candidate’s Bill de Blasio’s teenage son Dante de Blasio, a black teenager who has been featured in his father’s campaign commercials. “Today, the sad truth is that Dante and young men who look like him across this city are less safe for the City Council and Democrat mayoral candidates playing political games with our policing policies,” he said.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) called the override vote “a heavy blow to the safety of all New Yorkers” and said the legislation will hurt police. “It will be more difficult for our police force to do its job, and there will undoubtedly be consequences,” she said.
Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis vowed to help defend police against lawsuits. The Community Safety Act will make it easier for citizens to file lawsuits against police officers over racial profiling.“Those city council members who voted for it must be held accountable for the rise in crime that will undoubtedly take place. Lawsuits will be filed in opposition to this law and I plan to play an active role in backing them,” he said.
Council members Brad Lander (D-Park Slope-Kensington) and Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush), who co-sponsored the landmark legislation, issued a joint statement prosing the council’s vote.
“Today, the City Council listened to the voices of reason and passed legally sound and responsible legislation that respects the 4th and 14th Amendment Rights of city residents, while providing the necessary oversight to establish better policing practices,” Lander and Williams stated.
“We’d like to thank Speaker Christine Quinn, our City Council colleagues, and most of all to the diverse coalition of New Yorkers who worked tirelessly to pass the Community Safety Act. We look forward to continuing working for a safer and more equitable and just New York for all,” the legislation’s sponsors stated.