“You can feel the change coming!” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a crowd gathered Wednesday afternoon, before a Black Lives Matter street mural in the Bronx, to celebrate the signing of legislation dubbed the NYPD Accountability Package, meant to massively overhaul the way law enforcement divisions serving America’s largest city function.
De Blasio, already under fire from the law enforcement community and law-abiding citizens alike after ordering the disbandment of the NYPD’s anti-crime unit, told the crowd that the package of bills is part of a larger effort from his administration, which includes the mass release of inmates from prisons and jails, to “say black lives matter in a real and tangible way.”
The mayor claimed that his efforts, combined with those of Black Lives Matter activists, will make the city safer, despite a recent surge in violent crime that saw 53 New Yorkers shot, including four shot fatally, one of those being a 1-year-old baby boy over the most recent weekend.
“People said that if we reduced incarceration and ended the era of mass incarceration we would be endangered. It was the other way around, my friends,” said de Blasio.
“We now have fewer people in our jails than at any time since World War 2 and we are safer for it and better for it! So every time we do these things we are saying black lives matter in a tangible and real way. Now, we’ve only begun and we have to do more!”
Included in the reforms is a ban on chokeholds and the acts of kneeling, standing, or sitting on a suspect for the purpose of restraint, which cops say will make interactions with physically violent or resistant suspects even more dangerous.
Shortly after Mayor de Blasio signed the bills into law, the President of the New York State Police Benevolent Association, Thomas Mungeer, called for the immediate withdrawal of roughly 200 New York State Troopers from the city via press release.
“I am demanding that New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett immediately remove all uniformed State Troopers currently stationed within New York City and cease any law enforcement activities within that jurisdiction,” said Mungeer, citing the “undue burden” officers will face under the new legislation.
“It opens them up to criminal and civil liability for restraining a person during a lawful arrest in a manner that is consistent with their training and is legal throughout the rest of the State. Furthermore, this legislation will prevent Troopers from safely and effectively arresting resistant subjects.”