NYPD cops would need to identify themselves and offer business cards to people they stop during adversarial encounters that don’t lead to arrests or summonses, under a negotiated proposal being considered at the City Council, sources said.
But the proposal, the sources said, would exempt the NYPD’s least intrusive type of police stop — known in the department as “a Level 1 encounter, a request for information” — in which officers can seek identification and explanation of whereabouts but a person is free to walk away.
Word that the council may consider legislation that doesn’t cover all types of police stops angered police-accountability advocates who have been pushing legislation for three years to regulate all types of stops.
Stops included in the tentative deal would cover interactions where an officer questions a person in an accusatory manner but the person is free to leave, and those where a person is not free to leave and may be temporarily detained and possibly frisked.
The proposal is being considered in negotiations between the NYPD and sponsors of two police-transparency bills collectively called the Right to Know Act.
Under one of the bills, introduced by Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), NYPD cops in nonemergencies would be required to proactively identify themselves by name, rank, and assignment in all stops. The other bill, introduced by Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), mandates that cops tell those they want to search of their constitutional right to deny a voluntary request and requires officers to obtain a written waiver.
The bills have veto-proof support in the 51-member council but are opposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The legislation has languished with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who controls the flow of legislation, so far blocking a vote.
On Thursday, Torres and Reynoso disappointed advocates by not forcing a vote using parliamentary maneuver at the councilwide meeting.
Because of scheduling and chamber rules, the meeting was the last opportunity for the sponsors to guarantee the ability to override a mayoral veto, the advocates said in frustration.
“The lead sponsors are allowing their leverage and ability to pass strong bills by the end of the session diminish, ”said Monifa Bandele of Communities United for Police Reform in a statement.
Of the purported compromise, Bandele said: “If a police officer can ask you for identification in nonemergency situations, there is no reason New Yorkers should be left without the identity of the officer and the reason for the encounter in such situations.”
In a statement, the president of the NYPD’s rank-and-file labor union, Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said the legislation “will only serve to increase the contentious atmosphere police officers face on the streets, jeopardizing their safety and discouraging them from engaging in effective, proactive police work. ”