Mayor Bill de Blasio signs an NYPD accountability package, a comprehensive set of reforms including Intros 487-A, 536-B, 721-B, 760-B, 1309-B, 1962-A, after helping paint the new Black Lives Matter mural in the Bronx on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor De Blasio has signed six bills, including a ban on chokeholds, to reform policing in NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio signs an NYPD accountability package, a comprehensive set of reforms including Intros 487-A, 536-B, 721-B, 760-B, 1309-B, 1962-A, after helping paint the new Black Lives Matter mural in the Bronx on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The George Floyd incident has revealed the horrendous picture of policing in America that has been going on for decades. Thousands of people have been protesting all across the country, and even globally, under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” New Yorkers have succeeded in bringing reforms within the NYPD as a result of these protests. This is a great step towards fixing the broken police system.

On July 15, 2020, Mayor De Blasio has signed into law 6 police reform bills, collectively known as the NYPD Accountability Package. The bills aim to grow citizens’ trust in the police by increasing transparency and acknowledging the rights of the public. Let’s take a look at each of these bills and see what they hold for us:

Chokeholds are BANNED.

Nobody can seem to forget the excruciating 8 minutes and 46 seconds where a police officer choked George Floyd under his knee. Neither can anyone forget Eric Garner’s last moments on the streets of our beloved city. These events tell us one thing: police officers are trained to use lethal force, but who draws the line on when to apply such force? Certainly, George Floyd and Eric Garner were only pleading to breathe in their last moments on the Earth. Choking them was not the solution! Such a bill was long overdue.

[bctt tweet=”WeLoveTransparentNYPD”]

New Yorkers can now know about the use of surveillance technology.

As citizens of a free society, we ought to know how the government looks into the lives of the public. This bill will make NYPD’s use of surveillance technologies more transparent. However, the Mayor has clarified that the legislation will accommodate the protection of officers working undercover to keep us safe.

People now have the legal right to record police activity.

“How come that was not already a law? We live in America,” I hear you saying. It is indeed a bill that cements our rights as Americans. Video taping enforcement activity has proved to be a gem in many cases including that of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner. So next time you see an unjust act of police brutality, do not hesitate to take out your phone. Use the phone’s camera feature for the good of society!

You have the right to know the name and badge number of the officer you interact with.

Once again, it is such a basic right. Yet, it took a bill to make it legal for an officer to make their name and badge visible! Remember this bill the next time an officer makes you uncomfortable when you have done nothing wrong. Go ahead and jot down the name and badge number of the officer.

The city will establish an online disciplinary matrix for the NYPD.

Although the police are there for the safety of citizens, some bad apples within the system may exist. So, how do you differ between a good officer and a bad officer? What is an officer accountable for? What things define misconduct for an officer? The answers to all these questions will now be available to the public via an online disciplinary rubric.

An early intervention system will be developed for officers.

This bill is pretty much tied to the previous one. It addresses how the bad apples within the system will be dealt with. If an officer is suspected to be moving in the wrong direction, efforts will be made to aid the officer to correct their mistakes. However, if an officer needs to be removed from the force, the officer will be removed.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has been at the forefront of change in New York City and across our nation. I’m proud to sign these sweeping reforms into law and honor the work they’ve done. I’m confident we can make these reforms work and continue strengthening the bond between police officers and our communities.”

Mayor Bill De Blasio

Since the protests began, Mayor De Blasio has taken the side of the protesters and has clarified that we haven’t done enough to grow our people’s trust in the police department. The Mayor’s police reforms have compounded in recent times. De Blasio, who helped end the stop-and-frisk era, signed the Fiscal Year 2021 Adopted Budget where he reduced the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion and transferred that money over to reinvesting in youth programs and communities. The budget shifts include moving $450 million from NYPD capital funding to the Parks Department and NYCHA for youth and recreation centers.

In June, the Mayor announced that if an NYPD officer’s use of force kills or severely harms a member of the public, the footage from the officer’s body camera must be released within 30 days. Moreover, he announced that the NYPD would expedite the investigation process for cases involving great bodily harm done to a member of the public, and make disciplinary records and decisions more transparent. Nevertheless, we should never forget that these reforms that in some cases are our basic rights as citizens, cost the lives of men like George Floyd, Eric Garner, and many more.

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