Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the City of New York will dismiss its lawsuit against recently passed legislation banning “bias-based” profiling in law enforcement. Mayor de Blasio had pledged to drop the litigation as part of a series of reforms to a broken stop-and-frisk policy and to help rebuild the relationship between police and community.
Passed by the City Council in August 2013, Local Law 71 prohibits law enforcement officers from relying on actual or perceived race, national origin, color, creed, age, alienage or citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status as the determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action against individuals. The law was enacted by the New York City Council after overturning a mayoral veto. It was challenged by the Bloomberg administration in court in September 2013.
In dismissing that lawsuit, Mayor de Blasio reinforced his commitment to reunite police with communities across the city and to respect the constitutional rights of every New Yorker. The mayor emphasized the changes will help create a safer city for all New Yorkers by fostering a deeper partnership between police and the communities they protect.
“There is absolutely no contradiction in protecting the public safety of New Yorkers and respecting their civil liberties. In fact, those two priorities must go hand-in-hand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “No New Yorker should ever face discrimination based on the color of his or her skin. We are going to be explicit in setting fair and effective standards that prevent bias in any form.”
Mayor de Blasio was one of the original sponsors of Local Law 71 as then-Public Advocate, and is today reversing the administration’s position to align with the City Council in supporting and defending Local Law 71.
The law gives individuals the right to bring lawsuits to stop bias-based profiling by law enforcement entities or personnel, with the objective of achieving corrective action. The law does not authorize the award of any monetary damages. Claims may be brought either through a complaint to the city’s Human Rights Commission or an action in state court.
The NYPD has provided guidance to police officers in various communications to ensure they comply with Local Law 71. The city will ensure that police officers acting in the scope of their duties and in conformance with Patrol Guide standards will be represented by the Law Department.
“This law protects individuals in our communities against bias-based profiling. At the same time, police officers acting within the scope of their duties and in conformance with NYPD guidelines will be represented by the law department, in accordance with the law,” said Corporation Counsel Zach Carter.