Mayor Eric Adams has vetoed a bill requiring NYPD officers to publicly disclose all of their investigatory encounters with civilians — a decision that will set the stage for a battle with the City Council.
The mayor has been conspicuous in his opposition to the bill, speaking out against it at a recent bar mitzvah and scolding his allies in the real estate industry for not being more vocal in the fight against the measure. The bill, which was passed in December, requires officers to provide data on low-level encounters that do not involve suspicion of criminal activity and is designed to increase transparency around police stops.
The mayor argues the bill’s documentation rules would overly burden police officers with additional work and jeopardize public safety.
“Good intentions, but the practical implementation is challenging,” Adams said Friday at a press conference at City Hall. “Every minute counts on the scene.”
NYPD officials, including Patrick Hendry, the head of the city’s largest police union, flanked the mayor in an show of political support. Members of the city’s business community also attended the event, including Kathryn Wylde, who heads the business advocacy group Partnership for New York City.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Yusef Salaam, the Council’s new public safety chair, issued a joint statement accusing the mayor of creating a “false narrative” and misleading the public about the transparency bill.
“At a time when one out of every four stops made by the mayor’s new police unit has been found to be unconstitutional, and civilian complaints are at their highest level in more than a decade, the mayor is choosing to fight to conceal information from the public,” they said.
His decision will now trigger an override vote next month by the Council, which passed the bill last month in a 35-9 vote.
The 51-member Council, which entered a new session with four new members this year, will need 34 votes to override the mayor’s veto, meaning that the mayor will need to persuade at least two members.
Last year, the mayor was handed a significant legislative defeat when the Council overrode his veto on a series of housing bills by a wide margin. Another veto on his signature issue — public safety — could raise new questions about his effectiveness amid his sagging polling numbers.
The bill, which is meant to track discriminatory policing, builds on the NYPD’s current practice of recording and disclosing data on “reasonable suspicion” stops as well as those performed under the practice known as “stop, question and frisk.” It adds stops for encounters that don’t necessarily involve criminal activity or suspicion.
The bill’s supporters have rebutted the mayor’s assertions, saying the legislation would entail fewer than 10 questions using a drop-down menu of responses. The answers could be submitted on a mobile app — technology the NYPD already uses.
The questions include the location of the stop; the gender, age range, and perceived race or ethnicity of the person who was stopped; and the reason for the encounter.
The mayor has spent weeks vigorously campaigning against the bill.
On Thursday, during an annual gala hosted by the Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, he appeared to admonish the real estate industry for not taking up the fight with the Council.
“I have not seen one ad from REBNY. I have not seen one comment from you,” he said.
Politico reported that the mayor told guests at a bar mitzvah to lobby Jewish councilmembers against the police reporting bill.
“We cannot handcuff our police,” he told the crowd in a video clip that went viral.