Date: May 2013

Originally Published: Huffington Post

Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave an address to the senior NYPD brass that was billed to be about public safety. Unfortunately, he did not offer New Yorkers a speech on public safety, at least not public safety for all. Instead, he gave us a glimpse into a room at One Police Plaza which is entrenched in his skewed reality of policing and unreflective of the communities most affected by his policies. What the mayor offered New Yorkers Tuesday was a pep rally for his failing proposition that our city has to choose between better policing and safer streets, between saving lives and protecting our Constitutional rights. New Yorkers, civilians and police officers alike, know better.

I have marveled at the hubris of this administration on numerous occasions, so yesterday’s untruths about the pro-accountability and pro-police legislation in front of the City Council fail to surprise me. Mayor Bloomberg has blatantly lied about the bill to create an enforceable ban on bias-based profiling, suggesting that characteristics like race and gender could never be used for identification purposes. The legislation is clearly designed to prevent lazy or subjective policing of historically disenfranchised communities, accusations that the NYPD itself has copped to during the Floyd trial. If we do not profile in this city, as he claims, then what exactly is the harm in making sure this ban is enforceable for current and future administrations? The Mayor also continues to claim that a NYPD Inspector General would make it harder for the Commissioner to maintain command. I clearly have more faith in our police officers’ ability to follow leadership than he does. Furthermore, Inspectors General over the FBI and CIA have not harmed federal counterterrorism efforts; I fail to see why it is only our city’s police department that should be immune from independent oversight.

New Yorkers are still waiting to hear Mayor Bloomberg discuss public safety solutions that heal the rift between our communities and the NYPD as well as turn our at-risk young men of more color away from criminal influences. They are still waiting for him to discuss hiring more police officers to reduce the strain on New York’s Finest. They are still waiting on him to end the use of quotas that are destroying departmental morale. They are still waiting on him to embrace community policing measures so residents can build productive relationships with local patrol which produce tangible leads. This speech shows that they will keep waiting for at least 245 more days, until a new mayor can hopefully take public safety for all as seriously as we do.