NYC Council approves NYPD 'How Many Stops Act' and solitary confinement ban

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Wednesday, December 20, 2023
NYC Council to vote on bill making NYPD officers document stops
Lauren Glassberg has more from Lower Manhattan.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Council overwhelmingly approved two measures on Wednesday that the mayor strongly opposes, including one that would ban most forms of solitary confinement at city jails in most cases.

The other measure would require officers to report all street stops.

Advocates of the bills maintain this is about accountability and addressing racial disparities in the use of solitary confinement and how police conduct their investigations.

"We're asking for information on stops when police are turning on their cameras," said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Keith Ross, Professor at John Jay College joined the Mornings @ 10 team to explain the bills and their potential impacts:

Keith Ross, Professor at John Jay College joins the Mornings @ 10 team to talk about the details.

The "How Many Stops Act" will require officers to report every single formal pedestrian stop.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the legislation on Wednesday.

Advocates say the bill aims to hold police officers accountable for unlawful stops and searches that disproportionately affect Black and brown people.

"I've seen the damage it can do," said Christine Rivera of the Bronx Defenders. "The lack of trust between the community and the NYPD."

The need for greater transparency was highlighted in the June report by the federal monitor overseeing the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics.

This monitor found that between April and October 2022, 24 percent of level 3 encounters carried out by Mayor Eric Adams' anti-crime neighborhood safety teams were unconstitutional.

Out of everyone they pulled aside, almost 97% were Black or Hispanic.

The police union and Mayor Eric Adams are against the bill, saying it would hamper police, especially when they speak to several people about one incident.

"We do not have enough police officers," PBA President Patrick Hendry said. "It will bury our officers' head in paperwork, it wont help us with response times."

The City Council also passed a measure to ban most forms of solitary confinement in city jails.

"All people in city custody would have at least 14 hours of out-of-cell time in shared spaces," City Council said in a statement.

The bill will only allow separation from the general population in the most violent cases.

Advocates argue solitary confinement leads to depression, which could lead to self-harm, and minority communities suffer the most.

"The Council has taken historic strides to advance justice and safety by banning solitary confinement and improving police transparency," said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. "The physical and psychological harm caused by solitary confinement leads to increased death and violence in jails, endangering those incarcerated, as well as correction officers and staff.

The bill has re-sparked the debate about whether solitary confinement is torture or a legitimate form of punishment.

Before the measure passed, the mayor vowed to veto the bill.

"The same violent person that committed a violent act is going to stay in the same violent population that he committed until there's a due process. That's the same if someone comes and commits a felonious assault on you and before the police officer can put them in jail, you need to give them due process before you can put them in jail. Come on," Mayor Adams said.

It's unclear if he will veto the bill now that it has passed. If he does nothing, both measures would go into effect within three months.

Legal Aid is calling for the mayor to sign them both into law

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The legislation would require all food services at rest areas to be open seven days a week.


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