The union representing sergeants in the New York City Police Department says it's keeping an eye on how City Council members vote when it comes to overriding the mayor's veto of a controversial police monitoring bill. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Sergeants make up the first level of managers in the New York City Police Department, and their union said it's worried that if the Community Safety Act becomes law, they could be sued directly by people who think they have been stopped because of policies that profile certain groups.
"It makes us the bad guy. It presumes us guilty until proven innocent," said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. "Something's wrong with society when that happens."
Mullins said it's the police that keep crime from spiraling out of control. He drove that point home by showing details of murder victims on a screen.
"Any one of them would have loved to see a police officer walk through the door prior to the moment of death," Mullins said.
Mullins said stop-and-frisk is not about profiling blacks and Latinos but keeping people safe.
"We need to talk about this," he said. "We need to really get people educated to understand why we do what we do. In the same breath, understand their feelings."
Over at City Hall, elected officials and activists said they are pushing to make sure council members who voted for the Community Safety Act will vote to override the mayor's veto. That would clear the way for an NYPD inspector general and, they say, the end to what they call racial profiling.
"Whether it's fear mongering, whether it is out and out lies, whether it's attempts to buy council members, we are firmly entrenched in overriding the mayor's veto," said Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams.
Another councilman, Brad Lander, said officers accused of profiling will still have their day in court.
"And say, 'Here's why what we were doing was motivated by constitutional reasons, was motivated by goals of law enforcement, was necessary, and is not profiling,'" Lander said. "But if they can't do it, then the judge has the ability to say that was profiling."
The council has about three weeks left to override the mayor in order to make the Community Safety Act law.