Social Justice

Whenever one group is treated differently or denied protection under our laws, it undermines the foundation on which our country was built. Discrimination, whether against two people who love each other and want to marry, against a family whose only transgression is wanting to make a better life for their children in American, or against a religious institution seeking to locate near one of the most contested sites in the city, is patently un-American. The City Council should act as force against hate and intolerance, as well as fighting to bring those who live in the shadows more fully into our society.

Statement on “Stop-and-Frisk” Ruling

Contact: Alex Moore
718-499-1090
amoore [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov

NEW YORK, NY – City Council Member Brad Lander issued the following statement in response to Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling in Floyd v. City of New York, which found the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” program unconstitutional. Judge Scheindlin appointed a federal monitor to reform the program, which “will be specifically and narrowly focused on the City’s compliance with reforming the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk.” Read more »

From the White House to the jail house – a busy week!

Lander and activists block traffic at the Brooklyn Bridge

This summer has been one of the busiest periods in my time on the City Council. While working to pass landmark legislation in the Council and protect our community institutions in the district

I had a number of exceptional experiences this week that I wanted to share with you. Read more »

Response to Mayor Bloomberg’s “Veto Message”

New Yorkers have long-called for more accountable, respectful policing. Under the Bloomberg administration, the number of stops under the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk program grew from 97,296 stops in 2002 to 685,724 stops in 2011. Nearly 90% of those stopped are Black and Latino. With a national conversation underway about the dangers of racial profiling, now is the time for New York City to act. Read more »

NYPD oversight plans vetoed; override vote due

Associated Press
07/23/2013

NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday vetoed the most ambitious plan proposed in years for oversight of the New York Police Department, setting up an override showdown between him and lawmakers.

Bloomberg's long-expected veto puts the proposals on course for their possible revival in an override vote later this summer. The measures would create an outside watchdog for the department and more latitude for lawsuits claiming discriminatory policing. Read more »

The real champions of change

I’m honored to be in Washington DC today to receive a “Champions of Change” award from the White House for work (along with Alderman Joe Moore from Chicago, and Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito from East Harlem) on participatory budgeting.

I’m excited to meet and learn from other elected officials, not-for-profit leaders, and community organizers who are pioneering new forms of civic engagement and open government (like Jessica Klein, co-founder of Rockaway Help, which created new technology tools to enable people to collaborate for disaster relief). 

But there is something not-quite-right about getting an award for something as inclusive as participatory budgeting (which The New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action”). The whole idea of participatory budgeting is to see elected office not as a vehicle for one person’s leadership, but as a way to bring people together to take shared responsibility.  The best part of participatory budgeting is how people step up together to act as stewards of the shared public realm – our schools, parks, public transportation, streets, libraries – that makes our life together possible, and sometimes even ennobling. Read more »

Pols to mayor: Hear from public on NYPD measures

Associated Press
07/18/2013

NEW YORK — Some New York City lawmakers are urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to give the public a chance to talk to him before his expected veto of measures that would create new checks on the Police Department.

Councilmen Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams and four colleagues made the request in a letter Thursday.

Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna says Bloomberg doesn't plan to do so.

The measures would create an inspector general for police and make it easier to bring suits claiming discriminatory policing. Read more »

David Petraeus, a man used to hostile welcomes, gets another one from NYC

am New York
07/09/2013

To sign the petition calling on CUNY to rescind the $150,000 offer to David Petraeus, click here.

A firestorm of protest has erupted at disgraced ex-CIA head David Petraeus’ $150,000 paycheck to teach a three-hour class once a week for two semesters with help of graduate students. Tuesday, The union representing CUNY faculty and staff Tuesday sent out a statement in protest of Petraeus’ salary, which was first reported by Gawker. Read more »

It's not a crime to be who you are

Early Thursday morning, well past midnight, the New York City Council passed landmark legislation – known as the Community Safety Act – to establish long-needed independent oversight of the NYPD (an Inspector General) and to strengthen the City’s prohibition on bias-based profiling by the police. Read more »

NYC Council Passes Plans for New Police Oversight

Associated Press
06/27/2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The most expansive plans in years to impose new oversight on the New York Police Department passed the City Council early Thursday, as lawmakers voted to create an outside watchdog and make it easier to bring racial profiling claims against the nation's largest police force.

Both passed with enough votes to override expected vetoes, marking an inflection point in the public debate and power dynamics that have set the balance between prioritizing safety and protecting civil liberties here.

Proponents see the legislation as a check on a police department that has come under scrutiny for its heavy use of a tactic known as stop and frisk and its extensive surveillance of Muslims, as disclosed in a series of stories by The Associated Press.

"New Yorkers know that we can keep our city safe from crime and terrorism without profiling our neighbors," Councilman Brad Lander, who spearheaded the measures with fellow Democratic Councilman Jumaane Williams, said at a packed and emotional meeting that began shortly before midnight and stretched into the early morning. Read more »

2 Bills on Police Oversight Advance Amid Objections From Bloomberg

New York Times
06/24/2013

Shortly before a key vote on two policing bills in the City Council, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stood at Police Headquarters, flanked by Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, a dozen other law enforcement officials and Robert M. Morgenthau, the 93-year-old former Manhattan district attorney.

With the mayor playing a solemn M.C. for nearly an hour, each man spoke forcefully against the bills on Monday, warning of the dangers they would pose to the city — some invoking Al Qaeda, others the bad old days of rampant crime — and urging council members to vote no.

Their pleas went unheeded for now.

With the support of Speaker Christine C. Quinn, the Council overwhelmingly approved twin motions — each by a vote of 41 to 8 — to bypass a committee where the bills had stalled and bring them up for a full hearing and vote as early as Wednesday. Read more »