NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced more police reforms Wednesday, on the heels of the NYPD disbanding its Anti-Crime Unit and requiring officers to release certain body camera footage.
It’s the third police reform announcement in a week – but advocates say it’s not enough to stop the protests.
No longer able to ignore protesters demands for police reform, Mayor Deblasio announces still more changes – this time a vow to dramatically alter how fast cops who step out of line will face the music.
“Every officer will be held accountable,” de Blasio said, as he announced a major overhaul of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
- Investigators will now have just two weeks to probe cases of misconduct instead of 18 months
- The police commissioner will have just 48 hours to decide whether a cop under investigation should be suspended or put on modified duty losing his gun and badge.
“If you’re the person who feels wrong, if you’re the person who feels disrespected or devalued, you want to know there’s going to be some consequences,” de Blasio said.
The mayor acknowledged there may be exceptions, like when the attorney general’s office takes over a case.
The other changes stem from the state’s repeal of 50-A, which shielded officers’ disciplinary records.
De Blasio said there is a “massive effort” underway to publish these records moving forward.
“Transparency is not something to fear but something to embrace, because that’s where trust and faith will deepen, when people see that all this information is out in the open, just as it would be for any of us as citizens,” he said Wednesday.
Starting immediately, the NYPD will make trial decisions available online. By July, it also will publish information on pending cases, including officers’ names, charges, hearing dates and final decisions.
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In the longer term, the city plans to compile a comprehensive disciplinary record for every active member of the force.
It was the third day in a row the mayor has announced changes to the NYPD — disbanding the Anti-Crime Unit – making police body worn camera video of controversial cases available to the public – but protest leaders and advocates say it won’t stop them from taking to the streets.
Monifa Bandele of Communities United for Police Reform says de Blasio’s moves are not the dramatic changes reformers are seeking.
“They may have been half a decade ago, but at this point it’s very, very small things, so late, and it reminds me of the saying ‘too little, too late.’ Yes, do it, but it will not be mission accomplished,” she said.
Bandele says protesters want steep cuts to the NYPD budget – $1 billion – with the money earmarked for social service programs. She says the mayor broke his promise when he ran for office to be a police reformer.
“He lost his credibility and, you know, he is really lacking integrity,” she said.
“These are measures the mayor could have done as soon as he got elected,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “Three weeks for this to move with the mayor, and that’s what makes it so frustrating.”
The Legal Aid Society spoke of another reform announce today – the mayor’s promise to publicize information about some 1,100 pending NYPD disciplinary cases.
“I believe there are at least 200 officers that are still on modified duty who should be considered for termination,” said Jennvine Wong of the Legal Aid Society.
Meanwhile, the Police Benevolent Association described the mayor’s latest reforms as sacrificing due process in favor of “no process.”
De Blasio also said he’s “comfortable supporting” a City Council bill that would require the NYPD to disclose information about its surveillance technology, like facial recognition and license plate readers.