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Lander Letter to Precinct Commanders

Lander Letter to Precinct Commanders

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Published by alex_moore_51
Council Members Jumaane D. Williams, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, Margaret Chin, Oliver Koppell, Darlene Mealy, Debi Rose, and Andy King sent letters to their local precinct commanders, setting the record straight on the Community Safety Act, a package of legislation that creates independent oversight for the NYPD and strengthens the City’s ban on bias-based profiling.

Opponents have targeted the legislation with a misinformation campaign, which the Council Members worried could impact policing on the streets if precinct commanders did not have accurate information about what the bills really do.
Council Members Jumaane D. Williams, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, Margaret Chin, Oliver Koppell, Darlene Mealy, Debi Rose, and Andy King sent letters to their local precinct commanders, setting the record straight on the Community Safety Act, a package of legislation that creates independent oversight for the NYPD and strengthens the City’s ban on bias-based profiling.

Opponents have targeted the legislation with a misinformation campaign, which the Council Members worried could impact policing on the streets if precinct commanders did not have accurate information about what the bills really do.

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Published by: alex_moore_51 on Jul 19, 2013
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12/16/2013

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 __________________ July 12, 2013 ________________  ______________t _________________ RE: Community Safety ActDear _____________,As I believe you know, I deeply value our strong working relationship in pursuit of theshared goal of keeping our community safe. Even more, I value the hard work that youand your officers do, putting your safety on the line for ours on a daily basis. I havealways tried to work hard to provide you support to build bonds of trust and to solve problems together.With that in mind, I wanted to write to provide you some information on two pieces of legislation passed by the City Council last week, Intro 1079 (to create an inspector general for the NYPD at the Department of Investigation), and Intro 1080 (to strengthen
the City’s ban on bias
-based profiling). I voted for these bills, which I believe will helpto improve policing, target resources most effectively, and strengthen police-communityrelations.There has been a great deal of misinformation about the bills. While of course all NYPDemployees work at the direction of the Commissioner, as a co-sponsor of these two bills,I want to make sure that you know what they do
 — 
and perhaps even more importantly,what they do not do.
 
Race, gender, age, and other descriptive information are, and will remainappropriate information for use in suspect descriptions
. There is nothing inIntro 1080 that will change how descriptions are used. Intro 1080 does notchange the existing legal standard
1
 
 — 
that race or other categories cannot be the
“determinative factor” for initiating police activity (which Mayor Bloomberg
signed into law in 2004)
2
 
 — 
and therefore
should not change how suspect 
BRAD LANDER 
COUNCIL MEMBER, 39TH DISTRICTDISTRICT OFFICE
456 5
 TH
AVE, 3
RD
FLOOR BROOKLYN, NY 11215(718) 499-1090FAX: (718) 499-1997
CITY HALL OFFICE
250 BROADWAY, 17
 TH
FLOOR NEW YORK, NY 10007(212) 788-6969FAX: (212) 788-8967lander@council.nyc.gov 
COMMITTEES
LANDMARKS, PUBLIC SITING &MARITIME USES, CHAIR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONGENERAL WELFARELAND USEHOUSING & BUILDINGS WATERFRONTS
 THE COUNCILOF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
 
 
descriptions are use
.
 
Individual officers will not be liable for monetary damages or subject topunishment by judges
.
3
Most of Intro 1080 addresses potential claims that canonly be brought against the Department, for policies that discriminate against people based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or other categories.
4
Judges
cannot order monetary damages, but only “injunctive and declaratory relief,” that
is, changes to policy, training, or supervision to reduce discriminatory impact.
5
 Relief can be sought against individual officers only on grounds that they haveintentionally discriminated against an individual or a group of people based ontheir membership in a protected class.
6
In most cases, similar relief can already be sought under Federal law,
7
so Intro 1080
does not hold individual officers to an unfamiliar standard 
. However, even under Intro 1080, the judge can still onlyorder injunctive and declaratory relief.
8
There are no monetary damages and judges cannot order that individual officers be fired or disciplined by thedepartment.
 
Operation Crew Cut, the use of Argus cameras, and other NYPD policiesthat are targeted at high-crime locations are not prohibited by this law.
Policies that target resources to areas of high crime and focus on criminal behaviors (e.g. gang activity) are exactly the type of constitutional policing thatthe bill protects. The practice of stopping, questioning, and even frisking peoplewhere there is reasonable suspicion to do so is not affected by Intro 1080, so longas it is not practiced on a discriminatory basis. The bill prohibits policies and
 practices that use race or other protected classes as the “determinative factor” for 
initiating police activity
9
or that have an identifiable discriminatory impact.
10
 And even in these cases, the bar of proof is high,
11
the mere existence of statisticaldifferences from the general population is not alone enough to prove the case,
12
 and the NYPD can successfully defend by showing that there is no such impact,or that the policy is supported by a compelling law enforcement interest.
13
 
 
Nothing will change in the chain-of-command
. The NYPD Inspector Generalwill conduct reviews of NYPD policy, and make recommendations to theCommissioner and Mayor 
14
 
 — 
but the NYPD IG will have no authority to order or implement any changes.
15
The Commissioner will continue to have soleauthority for setting policy and directing the activities, deployment, and conductof NYPD employees.
16
Judges are empowered by law to order narrow remediesthat are closely tied to the specific complaint and only when the plaintiffs meettheir burden of proof. In addition, as is always the case, decisions of judges can beappealed to a higher court.
 
IAB will continue to investigate individual allegations of fraud, corruption,or wrongdoing
. The Inspector General is charged with investigating NYPD policies and procedures
17
and cannot order punishment of individual officers.
18
 Investigations the IG might conduct include such policy reviews as the use of stop, question and frisk; surveillance of Muslim communities; allegations of 
 
 
crime statistics downgrading and quotas; leaving undercover officers in their posts
too long; etc. The IG’s investigations can result only in recommendations to the
Police Commissioner, as required by the division of powers under the CityCharter.
19
 In short, nothing will change about the way the police department is managed, or aboutgood policing methods that are lawful under federal, state and local laws. Policing thatcomplies with existing constitutional requirements is not impaired by this bill; in fact, itis exactly the type of policing the bills are designed to encourage.We believe that these new laws are necessary to make sure that NYPD policies do notimproperly discriminate
 — 
intentionally or unintentionally
 — 
against groups of NewYorkers, and that appropriate independent oversight is in place to identify problems, offer recommendations, and provide transparency. We offer this letter to make clear thecontent of the law and look forward to our continued cooperation in serving our localcommunities.Sincerely,
Brad Lander  New York City Council Membe
References
1
Existing NYC Ad Code 14-151(a)(1): "Racial or ethnic profiling" means an act of a member of the force of thepolice department or other law enforcement officer that relies on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin asthe determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action against an individual, rather than an individual'sbehavior or other information or circumstances that links a person or persons of a particular race, ethnicity,religion or national origin to suspected unlawful activity.
2
Intro 1080-2013 §2 would amend NYC Ad Code 14-151(a)(1) to read : "[Racial or ethnic]Bias-based profiling"means an act of a member of the force of the police department or other law enforcement officer that relies onactual or perceived race, [ethnicity, religion or] national origin, color, creed, age, alienage or citizenship status,gender, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status as the determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action against an individual, rather than an individual's behavior or other information or circumstances that links a person or persons [of a particular race, ethnicity, religion national origin] to suspected unlawful activity.
3
Intro 1080-
2013 §2(d)(2): “The remedy in any civil action or administrative proceeding undertaken pursuant 
to this section shall be limited to injunctive and declaratory relief 
.”
 
4
Intro 1080-2013
§2(c)(1)(i) describes a private right of action where the department “
has engaged inintentional bias-based profiling of one or more individuals
” and
§2(c)(2) describes a private right of action
against the department for “
a policy or practice within the police department or a group of policies or practiceswithin the police department 
” that has a disparate impact on classes protected under §2(a)(3) and §2(a)(4).
 
5
 
Ibid.
3
6
Intro 1080-2013 §2(c)(1)(ii)
7
Improper discrimination is prohibited under the 4
th
and 14
th
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and isactionable under federal law in 42 USC §1983.
8
 
Ibid.
3
9
 
Ibid.
1
10
 
Ibid.
4

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