NYC Council Members Brad Lander, Vanessa L. Gibson, and Jumaane Williams Issue Joint Statement on NYPD IG Report

NYC Council Members Brad Lander, Vanessa L. Gibson, and Jumaane Williams Issue Joint Statement on NYPD IG Report

New York -- Today, Council Member Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader for Policy and Chair of the Council's Committee on Rules, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and co-chair of the Council's Taskforce to Combat Gun Violence and Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx), Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Safety issued the following statement regarding the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s Office of the Inspector General report on Quality of Life Summonses, Misdemeanor Arrests, and Felony Crime in New York City from 2010-2015. 

In 2013, Williams and Lander were the prime sponsors of Local Law 70, which established the Office of the NYPD Inspector General.

“We applaud the NYPD Inspector General’s hard look at the impact of aggressive quality-of-life offense enforcement on New Yorkers, which raises critical questions for New Yorkers who care about good policing.

The report finds no clear link between aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses and reductions in felonies. Meanwhile, enforcement of these offenses is concentrated in precincts with high proportions of African-American and Latino residents, NYCHA residents, and young men, at higher rates than can be explained by the incidence of crime.

The IG’s recommendations – that the NYPD should make better use of data to make sure that its policies are focused on reducing serious crime, and not disproportionately affecting people of color – are utterly reasonable. The report praises the NYPD’s new “Compstat 2.0” and identifies how it can be used to give a clearer picture of these issues to the NYPD, and to all New Yorkers.

Concerns about the disproportionate impact of the aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses on people of color (and especially on young men of color) were part of what motivated the City Council to pass the Criminal Justice Reform Act. We appreciate that Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton worked with Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council to reduce penalties for these low-level offenses.  

However, we were disappointed yesterday with the Police Commissioner’s quick dismissal of the IG’s report as ‘useless’, and the Mayor’s support of that statement. We do not expect the Commissioner and the IG to agree on every issue. The whole purpose of the IG is to have independent oversight that will sometimes be critical. But the issues identified in the report are serious ones, which deserve real attention and thoughtful response.

Since its creation, the NYPD IG has consistently brought data-driven transparency to the NYPD’s methods and policies. When the City Council voted – over Mayor Bloomberg’s veto – to create the Office of the NYPD Inspector General in 2013, this is exactly the way we hoped the office would work. We thank Inspector General Philip Eure and Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters for their willingness to take on challenging investigations, follow the facts, and make thoughtful and serious recommendations. This report should effectively end any criticism (which we heard at the time we created the office) that the IG’s office would fail to act as an independent body. With this report, the OIG has furthered its critical role in the ongoing work to insure effective, just policing, and to improve police-community relations.

We applaud Mayor de Blasio for appointing an NYPD Inspector General willing to do his job independently and with integrity. We sincerely hope that he and Commissioner Bratton will take a closer look at the report, and figure out what they can learn from it to further improve policing in New York City."

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