NYC moves to clamp down on cops, bolster citizen rights

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New York City Council members voted early Thursday to create an independent watchdog group tasked with overseeing police activity and ensuring officers don’t discriminate against minorities and Muslims.

Council members also passed a measure that streamlines the process for plaintiffs to file racial profiling suits against police, The Associated Press reported.

The votes came on the heels of recent criticisms that the New York Police Department was discriminating against minorities and against those of certain faiths with stop-and-frisk policies and surveillance missions that targeted the Muslim community. Police, meanwhile, said the programs were necessary to help with the fight against terrorists.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is vowing to veto the measures. He said in a statement that the rules would leave city police “pointlessly hampered by outside intrusion and recklessly threatened by second-guessing from the courts,” AP reported.

The council’s specific votes were to give an inspector general subpoena powers to suggest — but not force — new NYPD policies, and to give complainants more latitude in pursuing race and gender bias suits and legal filings against police.

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