The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

August 23, 2013

Council overrides mayor's veto, approves NYPD watchdog

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin appointed an outside monitor to reform stop and frisk, a practice she said the police department had used in a way that violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic men. The city is appealing.

Supporters say the new laws, coupled with the judge's ruling, will end practices they see as unfair, will mold a more trusted, effective police force and can change how other departments use the policy.

"What happens in New York city has consequences for the nation," National Association for the Advancement of Colored People head Benjamin Jealous said at a City Hall rally before the vote.

The debate on the bills veered into the personal and the historical, as lawmakers invoked the upcoming 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and discussed their constituents' and their experiences with bias. Williams teared up as the vote roll call neared its end.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who's Hispanic and 8 1/2 months pregnant, reflected on her hopes for her unborn son.

"I look forward to giving birth to this young man because I know he's coming into a better New York City," she said.

Opponents said the measures would lower police morale but not crime, waste money and not solve a broader problem of a police force under pressure after shrinking by thousands of officers during the last decade.

"These bills are downright dangerous," Councilman Eric Ulrich said.

The profiling bill passed with the minimum votes necessary, 34-15, while the proposal for an inspector general passed 39-10.

Bloomberg and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the police force has driven crime down to record lows without racially profiling. They say that between the council measures and the court ruling, police will be tangled up in second-guessing and lawsuits.

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