Wednesday June 13, 2012
Milestone in NYPD Oversight Effort: City Council IG Legislation Proposed
A few weeks ago, we wrote about two legislative efforts to impose independent oversight on the NYPD. The New York City Police Department is currently the only New York City agency without an independent Inspector General. At the City level, two City Council Members are introducing legislation today to change that. If the measure passes (34 out of 51 votes plus the support of the City Council Speaker are needed to push the bill through without opposition), the NYPD will have to answer to an independent Inspector General who would in turn make regular reports to the public. However, if the legislation goes through, the IG would ultimately be appointed by the Mayor, and with Bloomberg partial to the NYPD and Commissioner Raymond Kelly, it seems nearly impossible for the prospective IG to be completely impartial.
Nevertheless, the City Council legislation championed by Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander is an important step towards remedying the damage done by ineffective and intrusive NYPD practices such as stop-and-frisk and the spying program targeting Arab Americans and American Muslims. Linda Sarsour, National Advocacy Director at the National Network for Arab American Communities said, “we believe it's a common sense legislation” and stressed that “independent oversight and transparency” are “two key attributes of any law enforcement agency to be effective and accountable to those it works to protect.” Sarsour has put the Arab American community at the center of the effort to improve oversight over the NYPD. She believes that oversight and transparency will “help restore the trust necessary in communities for good working relationship with the police."
We encourage you to read up on the legislation and have provided some related articles below for your reference:
NYPD Oversight Bill Introduced In City Council To Curb Stop-And-Frisks, Police Abuses
Huffington Post, June 13, 2012
Absent Oversight, NYPD Abuses will Continue
AAI, May 18, 2012
NYPD Surveillance: What We Don't Know, And Why It Matters
Huffington Post Op-Ed, March 15, 2012