The Right To Know Act: Two Simple Bills to Protect the Rights of New Yorkers
- New York City 06/29/2015 by Linda Perry (WBAI News)
The NYC Council‘s Committee on Public Safety started out the week on Monday with a hearing on bills aimed at improving NYPD/Community relations. This follows a week where the City Council adopted a budget that adds 1,300 new positions within the NYPD.
Two bills comprise The Right to Know Act, the right to know who is stopping you, why and the right to refuse a search without probably cause.
At the hearing NYPD Commissioner Bratton put forth the goal of restoring trust between the NYPD and the communities it polices. Brooklyn Council member Brad Lander standing with Communities United for Police Reform at City Hall said trust isn’t a one way street. "It's got to be a two way street and so these simple ideas - you get to know who is stopping you and why and if a search is being conducted, you have a right to know your consent is required."
Lander says the Right to Know Act will not hamstring the NYPD but will strengthen community police relations. Co-sponsor of the legislation is Council Member Ritchie Torres from the Bronx. He says Commissioner Bratton seems onboard in theory with the Right To Know Act but differs in how to go about these changes.
"The Commissioner believes the reforms should be implemented by the internal procedures of the NYPD's bureaucracy. I believe the reforms should be implemented through a democratic transparent process."
Torres said what critics are saying is wrong. "Critics are claiming we are introducing radical, leftie legislation that will handcuff police officers. The reality is the Right to Know has been endorsed by the Presidential Task Force on Police Reform."
The Council Member says the NYPD is not special. It’s not exempt from local law. With community members testifying for the Right to Know Act, Torres says the next step is to seek more input from the NYPD, to build more support for the legislation and ultimately pass the bill. The Inspector General would have a role in monitoring compliance with the Right to Know Act.
LP WBAI News, NY
Council Members Ritchie Torres, Antonio Reynoso, Jumaane Williams and NYCLU's Donna Lieberman Stand with Communities United for Police Reform at City Hall, June 29, 2015