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New York City police told to quit proactive policing, be wary of lawsuits

- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2013

New York City Police are being told by their union to quit responding to calls for crimes that aren't occurring right in front of them, as new laws passed by the City Council open the doors for more discrimination suits.

The New York Police Department Patrolman's Benevolent Association sent a letter to members this week, advising them not to react to "events not occurring in the officer's presence ... [that could] subject the officer to legal action," the Daily Mail reported.

One of the new laws established an independent inspector general to oversee the police and ensure compliant with laws against discrimination. The second law that just passed creates a smoother, more streamlined process for individuals to sue the department for racial profiling — and it's this law that's causing police the most confusion.

A veteran officer described how it would play on the streets, to the Daily Mail: Say an officer responds to a criminal incident involving a suspect who's described by witnesses as a black male in his early 20s, wearing a white T-shirt, jeans and a Yankees ball cap. Under this new law, the officer can only describe the suspect to other police as "a male wearing a Yankees hat, jeans and a white T-shirt," he said, in the report. Mentioning race could lead to lawsuit.

The basic gist of the two laws is that the city's police force will now have to assume a reactive approach — rather than proactive — to enforcing law.

The city councilman who introduced the bills, Jumaane Williams, said his measures have been subject to "a lot of bald-faced lies," and that police enforcement could go forth, unfettered.

"We can have safety and can have police accountability at the exact same time," he said, in the New York Daily News.

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