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Stop-and-frisk: NYC council overrides Bloomberg vetoes, curbing policy

The override votes establish as law permanent checks on stop-and-frisk, a tactic Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have called a matter of 'life and death.'

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"Make no mistake: the communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City’s historic crime reductions," Bloomberg said in a statement after the vote.

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"Both bills outsource management of the NYPD to unaccountable officials, making it harder for the next mayor and police commissioner to make the decisions they believe necessary to keep our city safe," he continued. "Today’s vote is an example of election year politics at its very worst and political pandering at its most deadly."

With the mayoral primary weeks away, the override comes as a rebuke to the outgoing administration, which has doubled down on stop-and-frisk despite intense opposition from minority groups and civil liberties activists. 

The council voted 39 to 10 to override Bloomberg’s veto of the inspector general bill, and 34 to 15 on the expanded ability to sue the NYPD.

“I worry for my kids and I worry for your kids. I worry for you and I worry for me,” Bloomberg said after the federal judge issued her ruling last week. “Crime can come back any time the criminals think they can get away with things. We just cannot let that happen.”

And when NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory asked Commissioner Kelly whether "people will die" if the city abandons its stop-and-frisk policies, Kelly responded, "No question about it, violent crime will go up.”

"This is something that's integral to policing,” he continued. “This happens throughout America in any police jurisdiction. You have to do it.”

Critics say the administration’s intransigence on the issue has caused needless conflict.  

“Rather than recognize that there was serious problems with the policy, they’re just digging their heels in,” says Randolph McLaughlin, co-chair of the civil rights practice group at Newman Ferrara LLP in New York. “But what’s really silly, to be frank, is this notion that, ‘we’re going to appeal this decision,’ when the person who’s appealing it will be out of office in January. I seriously doubt that if any of the Democrats come in, they will continue the appeal. So it’s really more wasting of the city’s scarce resources.”

Democratic candidates for mayor came out forcefully against the stop-and-frisk policy in a spirited debate Wednesday evening.

The new laws will take effect in January, 2014, when a new mayor is sworn in.


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