Mayor Rejects AG's Proposal To Have Commission Oversee NYPD

Rich Lamb
July 09, 2020 - 1:15 pm

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is not on board with the state attorney general's recommendation to appoint an independent commission to oversee the NYPD.

    The commission is one of several police reform recommendations that Attorney General Letitia James made as part of a report on police interactions with the public during the recent protests over George Floyd's death. 

    Under the attorney general's proposal, the commissioner would approve the department's budget, have the final word on officer discipline and would pick the police commissioner, who is currently chosen by the mayor.

    "The police should not police themselves," James said. 

    The mayor's reaction to the proposal was a crystal clear thumbs down, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.

    "I don't think it will work," the mayor said during his daily briefing Thursday. "I think it would be counter productive because look, think about what we have been able to do in recent years."

    He then listed off a number of changes made under his administration including the end of stop and frisk, introducing neighborhood policing, a radical reduction in arrests, reducing mass incarceration, instituting body cameras for all patrol officers and deescalation and implicit bias training.

    "There's so many reforms I can go through and we were able to do them very quickly, even recently, the decision by Commissioner Shea recognizing that the anti-crime unit caused a certain number of challenges for communities and there was a better way to do things. He was able to take that action very quickly with my agreement and that is the kind of thing that happens when there's unity of command and the ability to have true accountability," de Blasio said. "My accountability is to the people. When you create any kind of commission, when you create diffusion of accountability, things don't work. We've seen it over and over again."

    James also wants a redesign in the roles of police officers, saying they are tasked with doing things that have little to do with solving crimes.

    "Such as conducting outreach to the homeless, responding to mental health crises, enforcing petty infractions, and overseeing school attendance and discipline," James said.

    She also recommends a codified use of force policy.

    "Police are instilled with awesome power by the public, and the public should have a clear and direct say over how that power is used and what constitutes an unacceptable abuse of that power," James said.

    More than 100 witnesses, including protesters, elected officials, community organizations and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, gave testimony during public hearings last month.

    The attorney general's office also received more than 1,300 complaints and pieces of evidence, as well as 300 submissions of written testimony. Many of the complaints were about police using excessive force.

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