Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Mayor Drops Lawsuit Challenging "Bias-Based" Profiling

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As expected, Mayor Bill de Blasio is dropping former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's challenge to a racial profiling law that the City Council enacted last year. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pulling the plug on a city lawsuit aimed at blocking a law that makes it easier for New Yorkers to sue the police department for bias-based profiling.

The City Council approved the bill last year with strong support from de Blasio, who was a candidate for mayor at the time.

"You can't be in favor of fairness in policing and vote against a ban on racial profiling," he said on August 22, 2013.

Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's police unions were staunchly opposed, warning that the legislation had the potential to increase crime and make the lives of police officers much more difficult. At the same time the City Council approved the racial profiling bill, it also approved a bill to install an inspector general at the New York City Police Department.

"These are two very bad, dangerous bills," Bloomberg said on June 28, 2013.

Racial profiling was already illegal before the bill's passage, but the legislation paves the way for New Yorkers to bring lawsuits in state court as well as federal.

"This isn't going to lead to a barrage of lawsuits," said Donna Lieberman of the New York City Liberties Union. "Hopefully, it will help change the culture of the police department."

The court fight over the racial profiling bill, though, may not be over. A police union says that it will keep fighting in court.

In a statement, Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said, "Our opposition to this legislation has been and continues to be that it penalizes our members (NYC police officers) and the public rather than addressing bad policies."

Police Commissioner William Bratton says that the city will respond to the union.

"The city indicated that they will not support and probably will contest those appeals," he said.

Many of the complaints about racial profiling were tied to police officers' use of stop-and-frisk. Bratton noted that the number of stop-and-frisk cases are down. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP