Veni Vidi Veto
Police reform advocates denounced Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the steps of City Hall today, sharply criticizing the city’s repeated attempts to bat back a court decision clamping down on the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic.
“Let’s be clear, I have never seen such arrogance—some hardheadedness, it must be a psychosis,” declared Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, one of the leading advocates on the issue and a frequent critic of the Bloomberg administration.
The City Council has voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of two controversial bills aimed at reining in the NYPD’s controversial use of stop-and-frisk.
Despite aggressive attempts by Mr. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to peel away support, a bill to create an independent inspector general to oversee the department passed 39-10. A second bill, which would extend the definition of racial profiling and allow those who feel wronged to sue in state court passed 34-15.
The Sunshine State
A long train ride away from his Upper West Side home, comptroller hopeful Scott Stringer stumped at a bustling Brooklyn intersection yesterday, straining to introduce himself to voters who had never heard of the low-key Manhattan borough president.
Passing out campaign literature with Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams near a Flatbush subway stop, the bespectacled, suit-clad Stringer struck a contrast with the many working class, black voters hustling into and out of the Flatbush Avenue station.
Less than 24 hours after the controversial verdict was released in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year, rallies erupted across New York City.
Crowds began converging on Union Square around 2 p.m. this afternoon, chanting “No Justice, no peace,” and passing out stickers which read “We are all Trayvon.” Marvin Knight, 70, held a sign that read “A creepy-ass cracker stalked and killed Trayvon Martin.” Others carried signs featuring the photograph of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was brutally murdered in the 1950s.
Manhattan Borough President and city comptroller candidate Scott Stringer was among the many politicians in attendance, voicing his anger with the verdict.
City Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander left City Hall in the wee hours of this morning after successfully quarterbacking two controversial bills aimed at reforming NYPD practices. And less than twelve hours later, they returned to City Hall’s steps enlivened and exultant to celebrate the victory.
Joined by Reverend Al Sharpton and a cadre of supporters, the group heralded the combined efforts of members of the City Council in passing the two bills that comprised the Community Safety Act with veto-proof majorities.
A fiery rally in support of NYPD reform legislation was the latest stage in the heated dispute between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council, only one hour before the outgoing mayor held his own press conference condemning the measures. But despite Mr. Bloomberg’s passionate arguments, a lead sponsor of the act sees an ulterior motive.
“My personal belief is that for some reason he believes this is a challenge to his legacy. That is the only possible thing I can believe,” Councilman Jumaane Williams told Politicker.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a plan Monday to bypass Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.’s efforts to halt the passage of two controversial public safety bills by forcing a vote using a rarely-used mechanism that members–including Mr. Vallone—had previously threatened to use against Ms. Quinn.
Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander said they plan to file discharge petitions later this week to force the council to vote on two bills opposed by both the mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly: one that would create an independent inspector general to monitor the NYPD and another that would expand the definition of racial profiling and allow those who believe they’ve been wronged to sue police in state court.
As indictments of minority elected officials continue to pile up, some leaders have openly suggested, while offering scant evidence, that a conspiracy exists to remove blacks and Latinos from power. But U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, one of two federal prosecutors responsible for bringing many of the recent corruption charges, outright rejected any conspiracy theories last night.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind held a press conference in front of his home this afternoon responding to the uproar over a story that first appeared on Politicker today about his “black basketball player” Purim costume. In front of a small crowd of reporters, Mr. Hikind apologized that people were “offended” and reiterated his initial defense that the getup, which consisted of an orange jersey, brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses was merely a costume to celebrate the Jewish Purim holiday. However, even after Mr. Hikind addressed the firestorm, several members of the City Council sent letters to the Assemblyman arguing his apology did not go far enough.
“Anyone who was offended by the outfit that I was wearing on Purim yesterday … it was not meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone in any fashion,” Mr. Hikind began. “That is not what I am all about for the past 31 years in pub office and before that.”
Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams is one of the biggest Knicks fans in City government and, though he said he had a personal “struggle” over whether to back the newly-arrived Brooklyn Nets, he’s sticking with his team. Mr. Williams revealed his decision to Politicker when we asked him about Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s statement earlier today that Brooklynites who “support, cheer or root for the Manhattan Knicks” are “treasonous.”
“It’s something I’ve grappled with….It’s very, very tough, but I think I’m Brooklyn enough. Nobody can question my Brooklyn-ness, not even Marty Markowitz,” Mr. Williams said. “I’ve decided this fall to take my talents back to the Garden.”