Some Police Agencies Revive Restraints Involving Neck

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USMC/City Limits

Troops in training demonstrate a lateral vascular neck restraint, or LVNR.
Outrage over the death last week of Eric Garner while in police custody hasn’t been echoed on listservs and bulletin boards frequented by police officers and their supporters. "Looking at this video, there is no criminal action on the part of the officer(s) in my opinion," wrote one poster at Thee Rant, where some posters disparaged the dead man and there was general concern that the cop at the center of the case might be unfairly blamed for Garner's demise.

There’s no way to tell whether the posters at sites like Thee Rant are cops, retired cops, wannabes, buffs or trolls. But one post raised a question that may resonate as the uproar over Garner’s death lives on.

True or False: New York City Already Bans Racial Profiling

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© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons/City Limits

The sharpest jabs in this week's Democratic mayoral debate came over stop-and-frisk and one of the two City Council bills aimed at curbing the practice—measures that were passed by the city legislature in June and vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg in July. On Thursday, the Council overrode the vetoes on both pieces of legislation: Intro. 1079, which creates an inspector general to oversee the NYPD, and Intro. 1080, which is known as the End Discriminatory Profiling Act. That second bill figured prominently in two testy exchanges among the candidates.

Stop-and-Frisk Ruling: Key Background

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Pearl Gabel/City Limits

On father's day in 2012, opponents of the stop-and-frisk policy marched silently.
A federal judge has ruled that the NYPD's stop and question or frisk practice violated the rights of thousands of New Yorkers.

As analysts weigh what this means for Mayor Bloomberg's legacy, the 2013 campaign and crime-fighting under the next mayor, what does it mean for the areas most affected by that policing strategy?

Last year we looked at the street-level impact of the practice in Sector E of the 75th precinct--the section of East New York that, NYPD statistics showed, saw the most frequent use of the tactic. Read our coverage here.

Bloomberg Invokes Terrorism in Case Against NYPD Reforms

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Franz Golhen/City Limits

Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesday attacked proposals to restrict and monitor the NYPD, saying those ideas "most often come from those who play no constructive role in keeping our city safe, but rather view their jobs as pointing fingers from the steps of City Hall."

In the speech (the full text can be read here and the video seen here) the mayor suggested that the reform proposals could lead to more murders, create deadly confusion among police officers and perhaps even make it easier for terrorists to strike the city.

Outside the NYPD, Inspectors General Are Everywhere

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FDNY, CIA, DIA, FBI, NRO/City Limits

The New York Post's outrage at Council Speaker Christine Quinn's support for an NYPD inspector general may have reached biblical proportions ("JUDAS!" screamed its Thursday headline), but the newspaper has found inspectors general pretty useful in the past. Over the past five years, the newspaper has mentioned "inspector general"—in contexts not involving the NYPD—some 450 times.

Recent examples of government incompetence/corruption chronicled by the Post and involving inspectors general include a probe of the city's top traffic judge for pitching a rental property at work, a Queens nursing home exec billing Medicaid for the use of a Lexus, revelations that construction workers at the World Trade Center were smoking and dealing pot on site, and failures by then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geither to restrict executive pay at corporations bailed out by federal taxpayers.

Police Conduct at Parade Unlikely to Get Board's Review

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Kiera Feldman/City Limits

A picture displayed at Tuesday's press conference of Kirsten John Foy, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's community affairs director, during his encounter with police.
When it comes to alleged abuses of police power, the official channel of recourse is to file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the independent agency formed in 1992 to investigate misconduct. But as of Tuesday, representatives for the two officials involved in this weekend's controversial incident at the West Indian Day Parade said neither had considered filing a CCRB complaint. It simply hadn't crossed their minds.

Recounting at a press conference on Tuesday the events at Monday's parade, Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten John Foy, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's community affairs director, said they showed their City-issued identification, explained they had permission to skirt the barrier, and were promptly handcuffed. A video of the incident shows officers surrounding Foy and tackling him to the grass in front of the Brooklyn Library. The NYPD claimed that an officer had been punched in the face, a claim that Williams termed "bald-faced lies."


Opponents Of Over-Policing Target 'Vague Laws'

You lose your balance as the A train stops short, brushing against the newspaper and bag of a fellow commuter as you regain your footing. Have you just stumbled, or have you committed a class A misdemeanor, Jostling? Were a police officer to apply the statute's vague wording and arrest you, and a judge to agree with the officer's interpretation, you could be facing up to one year in prison.

Jostling, along with Criminal Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, Loitering for the Purpose of Engaging in a Prostitution Offense and several other New York State laws contain broad and equivocal wording. Punishments for the above violations and crimes can potentially including jail time and heavy fines. Timothy Sandefur, the principal attorney of The Pacific Legal Foundation, condemns the serious consequences resulting from many vague laws on the federal and state level. "Vagueness," he wrote in a 2010 Forbes op-ed "turns the law into a sword dangling over citizens' heads."