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NYC mayor Adams vetoes City Council's police accountability measures

By Ehren Wynder
New York City Eric Adams has vetoed a bill requiring police officers to report low-level stops and another banning solitary confinement in city jails. The moves have ignited another conflict between the mayor and City Council. File Pool Photo by Andrew Harnik/UPI
New York City Eric Adams has vetoed a bill requiring police officers to report low-level stops and another banning solitary confinement in city jails. The moves have ignited another conflict between the mayor and City Council. File Pool Photo by Andrew Harnik/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams has vetoed a pair City Council bills aimed at putting tighter accountability requirements on law enforcement, asserting they would make the city less safe.

The How Many Stops Act would require police officers to report low-level interactions with the public. The other bill would prohibit solitary confinement and put further restrictions on use of restraints in city jails.

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Adams announced his veto of the How Many Stops Act in a press conference Friday, where he declared the bill would "handcuff our police by drowning officers in unnecessary paperwork that will saddle taxpayers with tens of millions of dollars in additional NYPD overtime each year."

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Public Safety Chair Yusef Salaam, however, shot back, issuing a joint statement shortly after the veto of the How Many Stops Act, saying Adams is "sending the message that Black and Latino communities do not deserve transparency regarding interruptions to their daily lives from investigative police stops."

NYPD officers already are required to log all investigative encounters with the public, but the new bill would require them to include information such as the person's, age, gender, ethnicity and the reason for the encounter. Officers also would be required to log lower-level interactions such as asking a person for identification or whether they have seen a missing person.

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Meanwhile, Adams similarly vetoed the council's solitary confinement bill, saying in statement it would have "jeopardized the safety of both those in the city's custody and correctional staff."

"Our administration does not support solitary confinement in our jails, and New York City has not used the practice for years," Adams said, arguing the "misleading" bill would have prevented the Department of Correction from protecting people in custody from violent individuals.

The bill would still allow the city to place violent inmates in "de-escalation" units for four hours at a time. Inmates would still be allowed 14 hours out of their cells every day and access to programs for the general population under the bill.

The council passed the How Many Stops Act in December on a 35-9 vote, while the solitary ban bill cleared the chamber with an even wider 39-7 vote. The council has 30 days to override a veto, and Adrienne Adams expressed confidence she has the votes to override both vetoes.

The latest sparring match follows a similar episode last year when the City Council overrode Adam's veto a package of rental voucher reforms, forcing them into law. Those measures expanded eligibility for rental assistance and eliminated a longstanding requirement that applicants to be in a city shelter for 90 days before they are eligible.

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