NEW YORK, NY – New York City police unions are lining up to blast a bill they say would handcuff them from doing their job.
“The community should be outraged that this legislation is out there,” Roy Richter of the Captains Endowment Association said Wednesday.
Richter is shown in a provocative ad that features police brass wearing a blindfold.
It’s a campaign to defeat a bill that would expand the ban against racial profiling to include profiling by “color, age, citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation or housing status.”
“Racial profiling is already illegal and should be. What this does is handcuff the police officer on the street. When a description comes over, rather than saying, ‘a male white wearing jeans and a tee-shirt,’ now it comes over ‘jeans and a tee-shirt,’” said PBA President Patrick Lynch.
Opponents also say the bill will make cops timid, because it allows people who believe they’ve been profiled to sue.
“What that will result in tens of thousands of lawsuits. And even if the city won each one, and you know they wouldn’t, that would blow a massive hole in the city budget,” said Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens).
Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) is one of 30 co-sponsors of the bill.
“They know they’re misrepresenting the legislation,” Lander said. “Police officers will continue to be able to use skin color and gender and age and height in suspect descriptions. What doesn’t work is profiling people based solely on they’re being one race, being one religion, being gay, living in public housing.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is siding with the unions in opposing the bill. He said if it passes he will veto it.
The vote could come as early as next week.
The police union ads will run in newspapers Thursday. Sponsors of the bill said the ads are false and should be pulled.