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Councilman Weprin’s Lies on Stop, Question & Frisk

Rebuttal to Councilman Weprin’s defense of the Community Safety Act (TimesLedger, July 19-25, 2013)

Times-Ledger-Newspaper-Logo -smallCouncilman Mark Weprin wrote a letter in last week’s TimesLedger defending his vote for the two misguided bills, Intro 1079 and Intro 1080 comprising the Community Safety Act. As a constituent concerned about the safety of my family, friends and community, I am infuriated with his vote, and even more distressed by his explanatory letter filled with political doublespeak which shows that either he is lying or hasn’t read the bills.

Weprin is disingenuous by stating that “Intro 1080 does not prevent police officers from using stop-and-frisk.” He goes on to say, “under both current law and Intro 1080, police officers can include race, gender, age and other relevant information when pursuing criminal suspects.” But the fact of the matter is that Intro 1080 amends Section 14-151 of the NYC Administrative Code to “prohibit” police officers from engaging in all aspects of “bias-based profiling” which does include race, gender, age and other relevant information. He conveniently omits the fact that the new bill has legal teeth, absent from current law, allowing citizens to bring civil personal lawsuits against the NYPD and individual police officers for perceived bias-based profiling. Weprin’s statement that under Intro 1080, plaintiffs cannot sue individual officers, is flat out false.

Weprin defends his imprudent vote for Intro 1079 which would establish a redundant, costly rival authority to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. It’s unnecessary to add another layer of bureaucracy that would cost the taxpayers many $ millions, when there is enough oversight already in place with Integrity Control Officers at each precinct level command, Community Affairs Bureau at One Police Plaza, Internal Affairs Bureau, Civilian Complaint Review Board, the five District Attorneys offices in each borough and the two U.S. Attorneys offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The Orwellian Community “Safety” Act is just the opposite of what its name intends. It will handcuff the police as they cease to take any action that would subject themselves to lawsuits. It would allow newly emboldened criminals, murderers and drug dealers to rule the city streets again as they did 20 years ago before proactive policing methods like Stop, Question and Frisk was introduced. Today we have the lowest crime statistics ever, as murders, rapes and robberies have gone down 30% over the past 10 years since the “anti-crime miracle” Stop, Question and Frisk has been widely employed and has saved 1000’s of lives. If Weprin truly has “enormous respect for the work of the NYPD” and wants to “make our city safer for all residents” as he says, he needs to reject Intro 1079 and Intro 1080, so that the mayor’s promised veto will be sustained.

Phil Orenstein
Queens Village Republican Club

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