City Council passes How Many Stops bill amid mayor's opposition

In a move toward police transparency, the New York City Council has successfully passed the How Many Stops bill, aimed at shedding light on what the NYPD categorizes as low-level stops. However, the triumph is met with uncertainty as Mayor Eric Adams declared his intention to veto, setting the stage for a heated debate on transparency and public safety.

Edric Robinson

Dec 21, 2023, 11:12 PM

Updated 178 days ago

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In a move toward police transparency, the New York City Council has successfully passed the How Many Stops bill, aimed at shedding light on what the NYPD categorizes as low-level stops. However, the triumph is met with uncertainty as Mayor Eric Adams declared his intention to veto, setting the stage for a heated debate on transparency and public safety.
“We got it through. This has been a long, long fight. Hopeful and still just really nervous. We know the mayor is in opposition,” said Council Member Alexa Aviles, representing District 38. 
Prior to the vote, advocacy groups gathered outside City Hall urging both the council and Adams to support the bill. 
“If the mayor cares at all about the safety and well-being of Black, Latinx and other communities of color, then he would sign,” said Chauvet Bishop, an organizer from the Justice Committee.
Despite the mayor's anticipated veto, the bill sailed through the City Council with an overwhelming majority, securing a vote of 35-9. If enacted into law, the legislation will compel the NYPD to provide reports every three months detailing encounters considered low level.
Among the other bills passed are those requiring reports when officers are denied consent to search and banning solitary confinement in city jails. 
“This, in no way, shape or form stops police from engaging or saying hi or asking how you’re doing. It is asking them to follow their own patrol guide that says you cannot stop someone without credible objective reason,” said Aviles. 
The NYPD staunchly opposes the bill in its current form, urging the council to make amendments. A statement from a police spokesperson said in part, “Under this bill, police officers would spend less time keeping New Yorkers safe and more time filling out paperwork — slowing response times and diverting officers from engaging with the public. And as the city faces significant budget challenges with an unprecedented $7 billion gap that must be closed next month, this bill would add millions of dollars in overtime costs that will mean finding savings elsewhere in the city’s budget. The NYPD strongly opposes this bill as written and urges all councilmembers to prioritize the safety of their constituents and all New Yorkers by amending it.”
Adams aligned with the NYPD's stance, asserting that the bill would compromise the city's safety. Supporters of the bill drew parallels to the resistance faced in 2013 when the Community Safety Act was enacted.
“I remember them saying they won't do their job because they're scared they'll get sued and lose their homes and pensions,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams about officers' concerns in 2013. “Every time we pass a bill that has to do with transparency or accountability, this is what we get." 
Undeterred, Aviles affirmed their commitment, stating, “I think we are in a strong position, and as you’ve seen, we have a veto-proof majority right now. I guess we’re waiting to respond to him.”
In a released statement, Adams declared that he's reviewing all options. If the mayor refrains from signing within 30 days, Aviles stated the bill would automatically become law. In the event of a veto, the council faces the challenge of a revote, requiring a majority to overturn. Advocates have one pressing question for Adams. “I would like to ask the mayor what changed? Because when he was running for mayor, he was a proponent. He said he thought it was a good idea," said Robert Willis, justice advocate coordinator at Latino Justice. 


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