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Council Overrides Mayor's Vetoes Of Community Safety Act

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The City Council overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vetoes of the Community Safety Act Thursday afternoon.

The act includes two bills aimed at creating more oversight of the New York City Police Department.

One of them creates an independent inspector general for the NYPD, while the other will allow people to sue the NYPD over alleged bias-based profiling in state court.

It was unclear whether or not the bias-based profiling bill would pass, but it passed with 34 votes, which is the exact number needed to override a mayoral veto.

Several City Council members gave passionate speeches about the bills and the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy on the Council floor.

Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have vigorously opposed the bills.

Bloomberg has said that lives are put at risk because of the proposals.

The mayor's office responded to the override of the bills Thursday in a statement, saying, in part, "Today's vote is an example of election year politics at its very worst and political pandering at its most deadly."

The statement goes on to say, "It is a dangerous piece of legislation and we will ask the courts to step in before innocent people are harmed."

Kelly also issued a statement, saying, in part, that the Community Safety Act will "have an adverse impact not only on our police officers but more importantly on the people and the neighborhoods they serve, particularly in minority communities."

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is running for mayor, only supports the creation of the inspector general, not the biased-based profiling bill, but she allowed both measures to come to the floor for a vote, an unprecedented move for the speaker.

"People who were not arrested, charged with no crimes, had no weapons on them, no contraband, that is a practice that is unconstitutional and must come to an end," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democratic candidate for mayor.

The approval comes just days after the practice of stop-and-frisk was found unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Before the override, police unions and the mayor's office attempted to sway council members from voting for the bills.

On the council floor, the vote was still divided.

"We have to recognize that there is an issue there that we have to deal with, and we have to figure out how we agree on public safety," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.

"This tactic does save lives, and with 8,000 guns taken off the streets, and 2,000 murders 15 years ago and hundreds now, that is the real deal of what the story about removing this tactic is," said City Councilman Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island.

The profiling measure will take effect in 90 days, but the inspector general does not take effect until January, meaning it will be up to the next administration to implement the new oversight.

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