The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the City Council overstepped its own boundaries passing the Community Safety Act, which aims to prevent police from unfairly profiling people. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
The unions representing rank-and-file police officers and their sergeants filed separate lawsuits Tuesday, charging that the City Council went far beyond its authority in passing a law against police profiling.
They say the state already has an anti-profiling law on the books, and Pat Lynch, the head of the police union, said that the law unfairly targets officers.
"It puts the onus on the individual police officers on the street doing the job rather than the policymakers that created this policy of quotas, going after 250s or stop, question and frisks," Lynch said.
The council definitely had stop-and-frisk in mind when the law was written and passed. City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn is one of the sponsors of the law. He said that the police unions are wasting everyone's time by trying to get the law overturned.
"I believe they know we do have the right to do this, which is why they lobbied so hard to try to prevent it from happening," Williams said.
Lynch, though, said that the law is out of line, that police officers aren't out to indiscriminately stop, frisk and arrest people without cause.
"They want to go out and have discretion to do the job with the support of the community," Lynch said. "No one makes streets safer than a New York City police officer standing on the corner in your neighborhood."
Williams agrees with that for the most part. He said that that's why the council's law does not allow individual officers to be sued for money.
"We tailored the law to make sure that we don't harm individual officers because that wasn't our aim," he said.
The debate continues even though the city is on track to have another record low number of murders this year, something the mayor and police commissioner said stop-and-frisk helped bring down.
Williams said that the stop-and-frisk tactic isn't the reason, but rather, good policing is.
"We're so excited that the murders are this low," Williams said. "The men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every single day to keep us safe."
That's something that the head of the police union agrees with, saying that 60 percent of officers live in the five boroughs and want safe streets as well.