Originally planned for signature on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio is reviewing a package of police reform bills including a chokehold ban, following angry backlash from police department leaders who said the legislation would weaken cops amid a major spike in crime.
At the end of a Tuesday public comment session on the police reform measures and three unrelated bills, de Blasio signed the latter but said he would approve the former “at a later date.”
While the mayor often signs legislation immediately after public comment sessions — and he said Tuesday that the police reforms mark “a watershed moment for our city” — he sometimes waits a few days to seal the deal.
This week’s delay comes after Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Monday slammed the chokehold ban as “insane,” saying, “Police officers should not have to worry more about getting arrested than the person with the gun that they’re rolling around on the street with.”
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan separately said police don’t object to being unable to use chokeholds, but to language that holds them culpable for “sitting, kneeling or standing on the chest or back in a manner that compresses the diaphragm.”
The comments came after 11 people were killed and 53 others were injured in a horrifying spate of shootings over the Fourth of July weekend. Another individual was stabbed to death.
Councilman Rory Lancman, who sponsored the chokehold ban, said he wasn’t aware of any problems that would hold up signage of the police reforms.
But the Queens Dem added: “Every day (de Blasio) doesn’t sign these bills, there’s a day they’re not in effect and that gives aid and comfort to those who oppose police reform and signals to cops that they’ve got maybe a few more days to do things they shouldn’t be doing.”
Along with the chokehold ban, the police reforms include the “POST” Act, which requires the NYPD to disclose its use of surveillance technology; creation of a “disciplinary matrix” aimed at creating uniform punishment for cop infractions; expansion of the NYPD’s “early intervention” system that tracks excessive force and other problems posed by officers; a bill requiring officers to show their shield numbers, and a bill codifying New Yorkers’ right to film police and peace officers while they’re on the job.
New York state passed bills similar to the chokehold ban and right-to-record legislation last month.
“It’s not uncommon for the hearing and signing to happen on different days,” de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said in an email. “He’ll sign in the coming days.”
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