Chief-Leader
July 8, 2013

 

Mayoral Candidates Scold Bloomberg For Undue Influence in Profiling War

But PBA, DEA Mobilize Against Bill

By Mark Toor

POUNDING A SILK STOCKING BEAT

The Chief-Leader/Michel Friang

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch joins union delegates at the East 77th St. subway station for campaign against two City Council Members representing parts of the district who voted in favor of a bias-based-profiling bill that union officials claim will make it tougher for cops to do their jobs.

  

The Chief-Leader/Michel Friang

FEARS OF DOLLAR DIPLOMACY: Bill de Blasio displays a New York Post article about Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to defeat an override of his promised veto of an anti-police-profiling bill. Mr. de Blasio said it reminded him of the way Mr. Bloomberg used not only city funds but his personal financial might to defeat term limits. ‘He’s going to use his wealth and his power to once again try and undermine the democratic process,’ he claimed.

 

As Mayor Bloomberg launched his effort to puncture the veto-proof majority that approved an anti-police-profiling bill he said would threaten the crime-fighting gains made by his administration, candidates in the race to succeed him criticized him for attempting, in the words of Comptroller John Liu, to “buy votes and subvert democracy.”

“It’s déjà vu all over again,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, referring to Mr. Bloomberg’s fight five years ago to overturn the law that would have stopped him from seeking a third term.

‘His Money Changes Minds’

“I saw members of the City Council who were with us change their votes at the last minute,” he recalled. “If anyone thinks that’s not the result of the Mayor’s money, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

In addition to using city money to pressure legislators, he said Mr. Bloomberg has his personal fortune of more than $27 billion, his foundation and his Political Action Committee to sway Council Members’ votes.

“He’s going to use his wealth and his power to once again try and undermine the democratic process,” Mr. de Blasio said at a July 1 press conference at his campaign office in downtown Brooklyn.

Mr. Bloomberg said he’ll only support candidates who vote against the bill. “I make no bones about it,” he said. “...Some of these things are life-and-death issues.”

Mr. Liu said in a statement: “Mayor Bloomberg’s outrageous attempt to buy votes and subvert democracy will not work this time. He can throw as much money at this issue as he wants, but the Council has rightly determined that discriminatory police tactics have no place in New York City.”

Quinn Questions Tactic

Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a third mayoral candidate, said that “people are free to lobby, advocate with Council Members. [But] I don’t think money should be involved.” Ms. Quinn fast-tracked the bill to a vote by the Council, but cast her own ballot against it.

Mr. Bloomberg said he would veto the profiling bill, along with another that would create an independent Inspector General for the Police Department. The IG bill passed by 40 votes, but the profiling bill passed by only 34—exactly the number needed to override a mayoral veto. The Mayor needs to sway only one member for his promised veto to be sustained.

The profiling bill would expand the definition of racial profiling to prohibit police from stopping people primarily because of their race, ethnicity, homeless or immigration status, gender or sexual identity, handicap or other demographic factors. Those who feel they were improperly stopped would be able to sue in the state courts. They could not seek monetary damages, but they could request a court order prohibiting the policy under which they were stopped.

Mayor, Cops: Deters Action

The Mayor says the bill would bar police from using any demographic identifiers when they search for suspects—which the bill’s supporters say is incorrect. He says it would allow state judges to micromanage the Police Department, discouraging officers from doing aggressive policing. Police unions fear that members could be responsible for legal fees if the city refuses to indemnify them.

The Detectives Endowment Association revoked its endorsement of Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez because she voted in favor of both bills.

“We were shocked and disappointed by her vote in favor of both bills, but particularly the bias-profiling bill, which we believe is bad for public safety and bad for the people we represent, who day after day risk their lives to keep this city safe,” DEA President Michael J. Palladino told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “This bill creates a presumption that the police are in the wrong. That’s why we took the unprecedented step of revoking our endorsement.”

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch led PBA members in distributing fliers in the districts of Council Members who had voted for the bills. On the morning of July 2, they were at a subway station at Lexington Ave and East 77th Street lobbying constituents of Jessica Lappin and Dan Garodnick.

‘Not in Your Interest’

“They didn’t vote in your best interest!” the flier said. It urged voters to call their Council Members and express their distaste for the bills. Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, a former MTA chairman and Giuliani aide who opposes both of the bills, stopped by to shake Mr. Lynch’s hand.

On July 3, the PBA distributed fliers at the Long Island Rail Road station in Bayside, Queens, the home of Councilman Mark Weprin.