(The Center Square) — The New York City Council is planning to override Mayor Eric Adams’ veto of a controversial bill that seeks to reduce racial profiling by requiring police officers to document nearly every interaction with the public.
Adams vetoed the so-called “How Many Stops Bill” bill last week, saying that while the proposal was “well-intentioned,” it was “misguided and compromises our public safety.” He said it would “handcuff” NYPD officers and drive up the city’s overtime costs.
“Our administration supports efforts to make law enforcement more transparent, more just, and more accountable, but this bill will handcuff our police by drowning officers in unnecessary paperwork that will saddle taxpayers with tens of millions of dollars in additional NYPD overtime each year,” Adams, a Democrat and former police captain, said in a statement.
But New York City Council President Adrienne Adams said the council plans to override the mayor’s veto during its regular meeting on Tuesday, saying the panel has “no interest in prolonging a conversation that has been made unnecessarily toxic by the spreading of fear and misinformation.”
“City government has a responsibility to ensure all agencies are accountable to New Yorkers, and nowhere is this more important than on public safety,” the Democrat said in a statement. “Police transparency is a prerequisite to public safety because it fosters the community trust that is necessary to make our neighborhoods safer.”
The council president’s statement also accused the mayor and other top New York City officials of “distorting” the proposal’s intent for political gain.
“The public dialogue fostered by officials at the highest levels of city government over the past several weeks has recklessly misled the public and sought to exploit fear in a way that is disappointing and unfortunate,” Adams, who isn’t related to the mayor, said.
The measure, which was co-sponsored by New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, would require the NYPD to provide quarterly reports detailing certain investigative encounters between the police and civilians, including the race/ethnicity, age and gender of the civilian, factors that led to the interaction, and whether it involved the use of force.
The proposal, which backers say is aimed at reducing racial profiling by the NYPD, was met with pushback from law enforcement officials and state prosecutors who said it would bury police officers under a mountain of paperwork and increase overtime while doing little or nothing to reduce crime.
A coalition of more than 60 business organizations — including the New York City Partnership and Times Square Alliance — had urged the council president not to approve the measure, saying the “negative consequences” of the bill “far outweigh any positive intentions.”
Adams said the proposed changes would impact NYPD work that has led to an overall drop in New York City’s violent crime last year, including a 12% decline in homicides and a 25% decrease in shootings.
“We don’t want to handcuff police. We want to handcuff bad people. That’s the goal,” Adams said in remarks last week. “It’s about making sure we’re not preventing them from doing their job.”
On Tuesday, the council is also expected to override Adams’ veto of a solitary confinement bill aimed at banning solitary confinement in city jails.
Adams said the solitary confinement restrictions would make jails more dangerous, but supporters argue that the practice has led to increased violence among inmates at Riker’s Island and other city jails.