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Mayor Adams loses in showdown on two criminal justice bills

Police would be required to record the race, age and gender of most people they stop, and New York City jails would be banned after the City Council on Tuesday overturned Mayor Eric Adams’ veto of two criminal justice bills. Solitary confinement.

The 42-9 vote was a major defeat for Mr. Adams and exposed a growing rift between the mayor and his Democratic colleagues who lead the council.

Mr. Adams, a former police captain who ran for office on a public safety message, warned that the bills would make the city and its jails more dangerous. He opposed overturning the bill until the last minute, but his efforts to convince moderate members of Congress to back him failed: The police accountability bill had seven more votes in favor than when it first passed in December.

The two measures aim to track the number of police stops more broadly to prevent discriminatory behavior and make prisons more humane after incidents. Several people in solitary confinement die.

The police accountability bill, known as the “how many stops bill,” would require police officers to record basic information about a broader range of stops than currently required. They must note the person’s race, gender and age and whether force was used.

The Police Department must begin providing the public with online quarterly reports on police stops in October.Committee leaders said the bill would help curb Abuse of stop-and-frisk policing.

Mr. Adams objected to the bill’s inclusion of so-called first-level contact, which the Assembly bill defines as interactions between members of a police department and members of the public for law enforcement or investigative purposes.

The mayor said the request was too broad and could delay investigations and hamper police non-criminal activities such as Help someone find their missing parent People with Alzheimer’s disease.Still, he thinks it would take too much time for officials to record the information Supporters say they can use smartphone app They have been used to record other encounters and take 30 seconds or less.

“These bills will make New Yorkers less safe on the streets, while police officers are forced to fill out additional paperwork instead of focusing on helping New Yorkers and strengthening community connections,” Adams said in a statement after the vote.. “Additionally, it reduces our ability to hold perpetrators of violence accountable, thereby making our prison staff and detainees less safe.”

New York City vetoes increasingly rare: Except housing bill Last summer, the Council last took this step in early 2014, when Overturned six vetoes A vote cast by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the end of his third and final term.Last override of Democratic mayor’s veto In 1991, during the term of Mayor David N. Dinkinsthe only one in his four-year term.

Mr. Adams and Adrienne Adams, the city’s second black mayor. first black speaker of parliament, all moderate Democrats. (They are not related.) But Ms. Adams has taken positions to the left of the mayor on several key issues, including her insistence that the Rikers Island jail complex be closed by mid-2027, as required by law.

On Tuesday, Ms Adams defended the bill, which is due to take effect in about six months.

“In New York City, solitary confinement almost exclusively targets black and Latino people who are just waiting in court for their day in court and don’t have the money to avoid pretrial detention,” Ms. Adams said at a rally before the vote.

The solitary confinement bill would ban the practice of exceeding the four-hour “de-escalation” period in emergency situations and require all detainees to spend at least 14 hours a day outside their cells.

The bill underscores a national debate over whether solitary confinement is torture or a legitimate form of punishment for detainees who commit serious violations of codes of conduct.a federal inspector appointed to oversee city jails Concerns about the bill.

Implementation of both laws could be delayed, either because of the Adams administration’s reluctance to comply with the requirements or because of potential court challenges. If Mr. Adams delays enacting either bill, the council or civil rights groups could sue the city.

Debate over the bill intensified over the weekend after newly elected City Councilman Yusef Salaam was wrongfully convicted in 1990 as a member of the Central Park Five. pull over Mr Salam was stopped by a police officer while driving with his family. Mr Salam said the police did not tell him the reason for the stop and claimed the incident showed why an accountability bill was needed.

Police respond to release Station body camera footage and said Mr. Salam had been pulled over for illegally tinted windows.Mayor Adams also defend stop As a “perfect example” of a polite police response.

Mr. Salam voted to override the mayor’s vetoes of both bills. He began to explain his vote, but then choked up and wondered how his life would have been different “if these laws had been in place in 1989.” He paused to collect himself, then said, “I vote yes.”

The Police Accountability Act does not affect reporting requirements related to the stop of Mr. Salam; all traffic stops must be documented. So-called Level 3 and Level 4 stops, in which police officers question or arrest a person on suspicion of committing a crime, must also be documented, said Michael Sisicki, assistant policy director at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The two sides disagree over what types of interactions the new law would record and how much effort would be required.

Giving Gatorade to marathon runners must be recorded, a senior police officer has claimed. Supporters of the bill disputed his remarks, arguing that the law’s language made clear it applied only to investigative matters, not casual conversations.

“Our bill makes it very clear that we don’t want to count common or casual encounters,” said Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate and bill sponsor.

Mr Adams fought hard to prevent the council from overriding his veto of the bills, which were passed for the first time with a two-thirds majority of the 51 members. Saturday tried to show them how requiring officials to submit documents could slow them down.

Regarding the solitary confinement bill, the mayor was concerned that corrections officers would not be able to restrain detainees as they were transported on buses and felt it was necessary to separate violent detainees.

Tensions between the mayor and city council are expected to continue in the coming months as they Negotiating next city budget, due at the end of June.Council leaders have pledged to fight the mayor unpopular budget cuts to libraries and schools.

Jeffrey Mays Contributed reporting.

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