NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The call by Attorney General Letitia James for an independent outside commission to oversee the NYPD got a vehement thumbs down from Mayor Bill de Blasio as the debate over police reform continues unabated.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reports.
He may be under pressure to build his credibility as a police reformer, but as far as Mayor de Blasio is concerned it’s “Ixnay” on the latest proposal — a call from Attorney General Tish James for an outside commission — with hiring and firing power — to oversee the NYPD.
“I don’t think it will work. I think it would be counterproductive,” de Blasio said.
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The attorney general doesn’t think so.
“The police should not police themselves, period. It requires change, and it requires reform, and it requires transparency and accountability,” she said. “At this point in time, why is this one agency treated so differently than all of the others?”
Among her recommendations, James called for a separate commission to appoint the police commissioner. Under current rules, the mayor chooses the commissioner.
De Blasio argued reforms can only move quickly when there’s “unity of command” and “true accountability.”
“My accountability is to the people. When you create any kind of commission, when you create diffusion of accountability, things don’t work,” he said. “We all understand the problems we see at any agency that doesn’t have a single accountable leader. So I think that proposal just won’t work.”
The move, which would include public input on the commission, comes as a one-two punch. Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo entered the NYPD reform fray – also saying community reform groups should have a seat at the table.
“You must start with a blank piece of paper,” Cuomo said.
Not surprisingly, the mayor bristled at that, too.
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“Last week, the governor called on you to redo the police department… he basically said that in order to restore community-police relations, you have to start with a blank sheet of paper and come up with a new way of doing things,” Kramer said to the mayor.
“With all due respect to the governor, we didn’t need him or anyone else to tell us to reform our police department,” de Blasio said.
The police unions also think the commission is a non-starter.
“You don’t have people that have experience that are going to be involved in the process,” said Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo. “I think she’s just jumping on the bandwagon, like everyone else right now, to try and hurt the police because it’s a popular thing to do.”
A spokesperson for Cuomo says he is reviewing the attorney general’s proposals.