Urges members not to override mayoral veto
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Urging the City Council not to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the controversial bill to install an inspector general to oversee the Police Department, Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis charged on Tuesday that the move would “handcuff” the agency and make fighting crime harder.
"The City Council is about to put handcuffs on our police, instead of the criminals,” Catsimatidis said at a press conference outside City Hall where he was joined by former governor George Pataki and former Bay Ridge congressman Vito Fossella.
“Councilman Peter F. Vallone, Jr. was right when he said about the Community Safety Act that 'We will become Chicago, we will become Detroit. Crime will soar, murder will rise, children will die,'” Catsimatidis said. Catsimatidis was referring to a statement made by Vallone (D-Queens) during the debate over the bill in the council.
The council is set to vote to override the mayoral veto of the Community Safety Act, a package of bills that includes the inspector general provision, on Aug. 22.
The council approved the bills on June 27. The New York Times reported that the Community Safety Act is designed to increase oversight of the Police Department. The legislation would not only install an inspector general but would also make it easier for New Yorkers to sue the NYPD over racial profiling.
"The professional politicians in the City Council should be ashamed of themselves,” Catsimatidis said. “They must be held responsible for the criminal acts that will take place due to this loony legislation. All the Community 'Unsafety' Act will do is make our city less safe and roll back the progress that Commissioner Kelly, the NYPD and all our law enforcement community have made over the past 11 years," he said.
Pataki agreed. "When I was elected governor, my number one priority was reforming everything in the criminal justice system in New York. We did just that and it helped make New York the safest large state in America when I left. Since that time, New York City has become even safer, due in no small part to an excellent police commissioner who has put in place the right crime-fighting tactics - including stop and frisk, which has saved the lives of thousands of minority New Yorkers,” he said.
"New York City has made such great strides in public safety over the past 20 years and the City Council is about to undo almost all that progress with one vote on Thursday,” Fossella charged.
“Facts are hard things. The fact is the men and women of the New York City Police Department have made our city one of the safest big cities in the United States. They have done so with respect and professionalism. They deserve our praise, not our scorn,” Fossella said.
Fossella, a Republican, served in congress from 1997 to 2008.
Proponents of the bill said the legislation woukld make the NYPD run more efficiently and fairly.