City Hall —Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Council Members Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), jointly released the following statement today in response to the de Blasio Administration’s announcement that it intends to drop city’s appeal against Local Law 71-2013, which prohibits bias-based profiling by law enforcement.
“We commend the de Blasio administration for announcing its intent to drop the city’s appeal in the suit against this important legislation – a move that will continue the process of mending relations between the NYPD and communities. This law – along with other steps the Administration and the NYPD are taking – will help reverse the damage done over the last twelve years and will set us on a new and better path. It will help create a safer city for all New Yorkers and ensure that no one is targeted based on their race or their religion, on whether they are straight or gay or transgender, were born in another country, are ‘differently-abled’, or based on where they live.
The goal of this legislation is to secure policy changes at the NYPD to address issues of bias-based profiling. Individuals can seek “injunctive or declaratory relief,” including changes in NYPD policy and practices, but cannot bring claims for monetary damages. The law’s disparate impact claim was carefully crafted, to insure that it does not impede appropriate, focused law enforcement initiatives (such as those related to Operation Crew Cut) that do not reflect improper bias-based profiling, but are instead based on individuals’ behavior or other information or circumstances that link them to suspected unlawful activity.
We look forward to working with Corporation Counsel and the NYPD to monitor lawsuits brought under the law, to ensure that it is working as intended and we are encouraged that the NYPD’s “Finest Memo” directive to officers about the law reflects our common understanding of how police can confidently engage in appropriate law enforcement activity.”