The Law Behind New York’s ‘Stop Cops’ Bill is Based on False Pretenses

Co-sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the How Many Stops Act — which was vetoed by Mayor Adams and returned to the City Council for possible override — is rooted in the intellectually lazy, time-tested trope that the NYPD is a racist department.

Williams has long gained national attention by smearing the NYPD — a majority-minority department since 2006, when the percentage of white cops first fell below 50%.

And while sensationalized incidents of police use of force whenever it involves a person of color resisting arrest receive all the headlines, the nation’s largest police department has long been a model of restraint.

Yet the Democrats on the City Council understand exactly how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Democrats attempt to sell the controversial act as an effort to increase police accountability. Balderdash. It would hamstring actual police work while requiring cops to complete lengthy reports every time they speak to a potential witness to a crime.

This is not simply related to an “investigative detention” or “stop” — whereby a person has his or her freedoms briefly curtailed — but to almost any interaction beyond “Hello.”

Imagine the mountain of paperwork generated when cops conduct a “neighborhood canvass,” knocking on every single apartment door in a housing complex following a shooting.

And while “casual conversation” is not meant to trigger a report, can you imagine how the City Council or the Civilian Complaint Review Board may misapply the reporting requirement, using their own “interpretation” methods designed to paint police as the enemy?

Police morale across the five boroughs has plummeted since the George Floyd protests and riots that led to the movements to “defund police” and “reimagine public safety.”

The City Council did its part to contribute to the lunacy by slashing $1 billion from NYPD’s budget in 2020. Recruitment and retention have been imperiled in no small part by sinking morale. Why continue performing a dangerous job in a city that appears bound and determined to undermine law and order efforts at every turn?

This why Nassau, Suffolk and upstate counties benefit immensely from NYPD officers’ exoduses. Blame Albany’s Democrat-led supermajority and this City Council — both resolved to reverse the hard-earned public safety gains brought about by 1990s- and 2000s-era NYPD police commissioners Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly.

The How Many Stops Act is part of the progressive left’s efforts to undermine the system. Strip law-enforcement officers of the tools that keep them (and the communities they patrol) safe and saddle them with oversight mechanisms that destroy trust between police and those same communities.

Silly to think there would certainly be more black and Latino witnesses to be questioned in high-crime areas where they may be the majority population.

This bill is but the latest effort to put the criminals in charge of the city. The Big Apple has finally shed the last vestiges of adherence to the policing methodologies that led to its historic turnaround. “Broken windows” and “stop, question and frisk” (upheld by the Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio) culminated in massive crime reduction and a well-earned title — “safest big city in the nation.”

Yet those two methodologies are now irrevocably linked to the canard that the NYPD is “racist.” Even while 81% of African Americans continue to want the same or more policing in their neighborhoods, the City Council and Albany Dems know better.

The City Council desires to out-Albany Albany as it maneuvers to apply progressive public-safety “reforms.”

Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-SI), Council minority leader, is a fierce opponent of the How Many Stops Act and turns the tables on the act’s accountability premise. He told me voters need to hold him and his colleagues accountable for their votes on this bill.

Thomas Jefferson put it best: “The government you elect is the government you deserve.”

James A. Gagliano is a retired FBI supervisory special agent and doctoral candidate in homeland security at St. John’s University and serves on the board of directors for the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund.

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