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NYC Sets Out Police-Reform Plan, Vows to Strip Racism From NYPD

NYPD police officers watch demonstrators in Times Square during a Black Lives Matter protest in June of 2020.

Photographer: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

New York City is launching an investigation into institutional racism within its police department and plans to remove officers who are found to be unable to do their jobs without bias.

The move follows months of controversy over how the city’s police force handled citywide protests in the aftermath of the 2020 police killing of George Floyd, the subject of a lawsuit against the NYPD by Attorney General Letitia James.

It comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to cement his legacy before his term expires in December and follow through with campaign promises to reform the department dating back to his 2013 mayoral run.

Bill de Blasio

Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

De Blasio on Friday introduced a police-reform plan that aims to root the department of what it called “structural racism.” The plan includes giving preference to New York City residents when hiring police officers, ensuring NYPD members are more representative of city demographics, and creating a citywide policy governing the use of biometric technology, including facial recognition and finger printing.

“This is really about respect and fairness,” de Blasio said in a Friday briefing. “Policing is going to look very different in this city.”

City Hall will contract an independent firm to review public-facing NYPD policies and practices to “identify areas in which structural racism affects the Department and its employees,” according to the report.

De Blasio Legacy

The city has been taking steps to reform its criminal justice system since the 2014 death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after an officer placed him in a choke hold. It renewed efforts in the aftermath of the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.

This month the city published a database of officer disciplinary records after winning a court fight with the police union which sought to block their release. In January, the city also took steps update its officer disciplinary process, more clearly laying out the penalties for certain offenses.

Published 12 March 2021

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