Hundreds Rally for the Right to Refuse Stop and Frisk
“This legislation isn’t about handcuffing the police,” she continued. “It’s about addressing the power and inequity that exists when dealing with those who carry a badge and a gun.”
At an oversight hearing on the bills last June, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton testified against the proposed legislation, calling it an “unprecedented intrusion into the operational management” of police departments. He said use of force had declined by 34 percent between 2010 and 2014 and pointed to the new community policing model as a step forward that would clear up many of the same concerns addressed with the the Right to Know Act.
The mayor also hasn’t come out in support of the act. Back in 2014 when the bills were first brought up, he said, “In the past, I have raised concerns about that legislation because I want to make sure that we don’t inadvertently undermine the ability of law enforcement to do its job.”
In a statement about the act today, the mayor’s press secretary mentioned other measures the administration has taken to reduce discriminatory practices. “From reducing Stop and Frisk and reforming marijuana arrest policy to launching neighborhood policing and piloting body cameras, we’ve taken clear steps to reduce unnecessary arrests and strengthen NYPD’s relationship with the community while keeping New York the safest big city in America,” she said.At the rally, Lower East Side council member Margaret Chin, representing the Women’s Caucus, urged the council to bring the legislation to a vote. “We have the majority of City Council supporting this legislation,” she said. “It’s been two years and New Yorkers and our community people have the right to know, so let’s work together and get this legislation passed.” “Police officers, they have the right to do their job,” she added. “But community members have the right to know. So it doesn’t take a lot, they should just have a card to let us know their name, rank and shield.” Police currently have business cards, but they are not required to give them when making a stop on the street. A report published in February also showed that NYPD is still struggling to fulfill a new rule requiring them to properly document stop-and-frisk encounters and give tear-off receipts. Council member Reynoso said the new legislation would make a big difference in improving community relationships on the street. “Right now, a lot of young men–especially young men of color–are incriminating themselves in non-consensual searches. The laws are going to make it so you actually know you have the right to deny that search,” he said. “These are two things that are already our rights! All we’re saying is: you should inform us of those rights. It’s very basic, very simple, but will make all the difference when we talk about interaction on the ground.” Want to learn more? Check out this nifty primer. Peace Poets at Right to Know Rally from Bedford + Bowery on Vimeo.