NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association says no New York City Council member who voted in favor of more police oversight “will have a free ride in the next election.”
PBA President Patrick Lynch said if the bills become law, the PBA intends to target the “pro-crime council members for defeat in the upcoming election.”
“If they don’t change their vote, we’re going to make sure they’re not in office,” Lynch told 1010 WINS. “We’re going to support the candidates going against them, one by one. That’s how important this is for the City of New York.”
“We’re going to go out. We’re going to leaflet the subway stations to educate the members [and their] the constituents in that neighborhood to say ‘Call your council member and make sure you don’t override the mayor’s veto cause it will hurt you,'” Lynch told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb on Friday.
“We’ll also then move into the campaign which is coming into the primaries and then the general election. This is going to be a long term effort,” he added.
One of the measures would establish an inspector general with subpoena power to explore and recommend, but not force, changes to the NYPD’s policies and practices.
The other would give people more latitude if they believe they were stopped due to bias based on race, sexual orientation or certain other factors.
Both bills passed Thursday with enough votes to override mayoral vetoes.
Lynch said the PBA believes the legislation will result in increased crime “due to the chilling effect it will have on enforcement activity by police officers who will be constantly second-guessed” and will “strip officers from patrolling neighborhoods streets so they can give depositions and make court appearances while being forced to justify every action in court as not being ‘bias-based.”
At the center of the controversy is the city’s stop and frisk policy.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department called the practice “unlawful” and urged the federal government to step in. About 5 million people have been stopped by the NYPD in the past decade, most of them black and Hispanic men.
The NYPD has defended the practice as legal, and critics of the new legislation point to another set of statistics: Killings and other serious offenses have fallen 34 percent since 2001, while the number of city residents in jails and prisons has fallen 31 percent.
“These are two very bad, dangerous bills,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday, adding he “will not give up for one minute” on trying to defeat the measures.
Supporters see the bills as a check on the city’s police force.
“New Yorkers know that we can keep our city safe from crime and terrorism without profiling our neighbors,” said Councilman Brad Lander, who spearheaded the measures with fellow Democratic Councilman Jumaane Williams.
“The mayor presents a false choice when he argues that New Yorkers have only two options – higher crime or discriminatory profiling,” City Comptroller John Liu said in a statement Thursday. “I have every confidence that we can keep people safe without violating basic rights.”
Stop and frisk is already the subject of a federal lawsuit brought by four men who claim they were stopped solely because of their race, along with hundreds of thousands of others stopped in the last decade.
A judge is considering whether to order reforms to the policy and establish the court’s own monitoring. City attorneys argued the stops were lawful and not based on race alone.
The PBA represents about 50,000 active and retired NYPD officers.
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