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NYC Council overrides Mayor Adams' veto on police encounter bill

NYPD officers will have to document all public interactions after the city council voted to pass the How Many Stops Act.
NYC Council overrides Mayor Adams' veto on police encounter bill
Posted at 8:52 PM, Jan 30, 2024

New York City's How Many Stops Act is set to become law in the Big Apple after the New York City Council voted to override a veto by Mayor Eric Adams.

The bill requires NYPD to document certain "police-civilian investigative encounters," including what NYPD refers to as Level 1 stops, in which an officer requests information without any "suspicion of criminal activity."

"A lot of people are considering Level 1s to be stops when, in fact, they should be considered interactions that involve no criminal conduct," said Marq Claxton, director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance and a retired NYPD detective. "There's no allegation of criminal conduct ... Very easily they could speak to 20 or 30 people in a short period of time trying to get information. Well, that's 20 to 30 people and 20 to 30 entries that they'll have to make."

NYPD already requires officers to document interactions that are deemed Level 2 and higher, in which there is a "founded suspicion" of criminal activity.

In a statement, Mayor Eric Adams said the new law would require documentation for "millions of encounters" and "would slow down police officers inevitably compromising public safety."

Advocates, however, call it a vital step toward transparency.

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"The resistance to this legislation is disturbing. The resistance to truth-telling of data of who is being stopped in New York is disturbing," New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said during a press conference ahead of the council's vote. 

Supporters of the law also say it's a safeguard against backsliding into "stop and frisk" policies from the early 90s — policies that overwhelmingly impacted Black and Brown communities.

"If this was 10 years ago, 11 years ago and we didn't have the data about the abuses of stop and frisk, we probably never would have been able to try and address that," Jumaane D. Williams, New York City's public advocate said during the same presser. 

Claxton says if this bill becomes law, as is, the result won't be the increased transparency advocates hope for but rather a decrease in the kind of community interactions that build trust between officers and citizens.

"What police officers will do is say, 'I'm not going to risk whether I'm required to document this kind of interaction, so I'll just avoid those interactions.' And that really is an unfortunate byproduct of bad legislation," Claxton said. 

The legislation is set to take effect in September of 2024.

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