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NYC City Council Requires Cops To Hand Out Business Cards At Routine Stops

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

The New York City Council approved two bills Tuesday requiring police officers to give business cards to those they stop on the street, according to The New York Times.

Specifically, the Right To Know Act requires NYPD officers to inform anyone they stop on the street that he or she has the right to decline to be searched. The law also requires cops to identify themselves with a business card and inform citizens why they’ve been stopped, The Times reported Tuesday. Despite its passage, the legislation has been widely derided by both police representatives who believe it is too stringent and reform advocates who argue it’s too lax.

“We all have searing memories of 2014, when there was an open revolt in the rank and file of the New York City Police Department,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres, who believes the bill should go even further. “And so if we have an opportunity to pursue a path to police reform without provoking an upheaval in the New York City Police Department, then why not do it?”

The legislation has gone through several iterations throughout 2017 as various factions demanded it be strengthened or weakened. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has based her four year term on enacting justice reforms, and the city council has passed more than 700 bills under her leadership, an unusually high number according to the Times.

“This legislation reflects nearly four years of thoughtful, serious negotiations,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement last week. “And strikes a fair compromise between enhancing community relations and making sure N.Y.P.D. officers are able to effectively do their jobs and keep New York City safe.”

Several members withdrew support from the bill as it was being considered Tuesday. Councilman Jumaane Williams was frustrated the bill left out several police encounters from the requirements. Williams was so angry that he refused to stop arguing against the bill after his time ran out, and the council was forced to turn off his microphone.

“It’s a shame what we’re doing,” Williams said. “It’s a sham, and it’s a shame.”

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he does not support the bill, he previously promised to sign it if it passed.

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