City Council gives mayor, health commissioner until Tuesday to turn over report on NYPD-involved deaths
The City Council is putting pressure on the mayor's office and the city's health commissioner to turn over an internal report that allegedly shows undercounted deaths at the hands of the NYPD.
The council issued a subpoena relating to the report. Councilman Ritchie Torres says that hasn't been done since 2005, but says it's necessary because the truth is being withheld.
The announcement comes two days after a New York Times opinion piece
on a never-released Department of Health report. Former City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and her team identified 105 people killed by police or police activity from 2010 to 2015. That's more than double the 46 deaths the agency publicly reported, according to the Times.
Dr. Bassett, who left the administration before the work was complete, emailed Mayor Bill de Blasio on May 30 to tell him about the internal review that the Health Department had been performing.
According to the Times, Dr. Bassett accused Police Commissioner Dermot Shea of not continuing the work.
But the NYPD says the collaboration between agencies ended under the last administration, calling the Times' piece "misleading."
In a statement, the NYPD said in part, "The NYPD shared five years' worth of data with the Department of Health. The agreement between agencies gave the Health Department full ownership to release their report. They have had years to do so, and failed to... the department will continue to share data with the Health Department and most importantly, the public."
A press secretary for Mayor de Blasio said in part, "Dr. Bassett sat on this information for five years and only told the mayor a few weeks ago. He immediately responded to her...we are now digging into the findings to determine next steps."
The City Council is giving the mayor and current health commissioner until Tuesday to turn over the most recent draft of the report.
"The concealment of the report is an offense to transparency," said Council member Ritchie Torres. "The public has a right to know the extent to which the NYPD is responsible for the deaths of New Yorkers, particularly communities of color..."
The city Department of Health says in part, "We felt compelled to look at legal intervention deaths in New York City and how these fatalities are classified and reported...The research...led us to understand that there are gaps in the data and that we need a better system."
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