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Friday, February 24, 2012

Councilman Wants Stop-and-Frisk Cops to Leave Business Cards

Councilman Jumaane Williams wants police to cough up business cards after stop-and-frisks
The New York Daily News by Reuven Blau and Corky Siemaszko - February 24, 2012
Bill is aimed at stopping profiling of minorities

City Councilman Jumaane Williams will introduce a bill next week that would require police to produce a business card every time they perform a stop-and-frisk. A Brooklyn City Councilman with a history of run-ins with police will introduce a bill next week that will require cops to produce a business card every time they do a stop-and-frisk. Councilman Jumaane Williams said the officer’s name, rank and unit would be on the cards — and that his bill is aimed at curbing unwarranted police profiling of minorities. “There’s a lot of inherent tension when a police officer stops someone,” he said Thursday. “There’s a lot of mistrust in the community. I think a lot of that can be eased by officers identifying themselves so people know what’s happening.” Williams said the rule would apply only to uniformed officers — not undercover cops. “We are not trying to hamper policing efforts,” he said. Williams’ business card proposal is part of a three-part bill aimed at protecting New Yorkers from unlawful police searches. In addition to barring race-based profiling, it also makes it a no-no to profile potential perps based on age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status and other characteristics. Also, the bill would require cops to alert a target that they have the right to refuse to give consent to a search. There was no immediate response from the NYPD. Williams’ business card proposal has been standard operating procedure for uniformed police in Portland, Ore., for two years. Similar rules are also in place for state cops in Colorado and Arkansas, and for police in Minneapolis, Williams said. Civil rights groups have been pressuring police to change what they consider are racially discriminatory practices. Williams has personal reasons for wanting this to happen. Last year, after the annual West Indian Day Parade, Williams and a member of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s staff were cuffed by cops when they tried to enter a frozen zone. Two officers involved in the incident were later disciplined.

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