Today, the New York City Council voted to override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto and uphold the Community Safety Act. With this move, the Council will bring critically-needed oversight to the NYPD and put a stop to systematic discriminatory policing.
This is an extraordinary victory for the millions of New Yorkers who, under the current Mayor’s administration, have been regularly targeted by the NYPD solely for the color of their skin, their perceived immigration or housing status, or their gender or sexual orientation.
Watch MRNY youth leader and Medgar Evers College student Keeshan Harley talk about his experience with discriminatory policing in The Nation’s film, “The Target”:
Following the federal court decision earlier this month that found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional, we hope today’s vote will ring in a new era of justice and equal rights for New York’s communities of color.
The Community Safety Act not only outlaws the NYPD’s racial profiling but also — and for the first time in history — protects immigrant, LGBT, and homeless New Yorkers from discrimination. Under the new laws passed today, all New Yorkers will have the right to take their case to court if they have been the victim of bias-based profiling. New York will also join the ranks of other major U.S. cities by creating an Inspector General position to oversee the NYPD and ensure transparency and accountability to our communities.
Eighteen-year-old Keeshan Harley, featured in “The Target,” is a MRNY member and student at Medgar Evers College. “Targeting young black men like me doesn’t solve the problem of crime,” he said. “The last time I was stopped and frisked it made me feel less than human. Nobody should have to go through that humiliating experience just because they fit the officer’s idea of what a criminal looks like.”
For over 15 years, Make the Road New York members have stood up against NYPD injustice in our streets and in our schools. Earlier this summer, MRNY and members of the Communities United for Police Reform coalition celebrated when the City Council voted to pass this legislation with a veto-proof majority.
Today’s Council voted was decided by a margin of just a few votes, but thanks to your calls, emails, marching, and media advocacy, the side of justice has prevailed.
We thank the Communities United for Police Reform coalition members, lead sponsors Council Members Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander, and the rest of the City Council for showing great leadership today.