Adams Discusses Two Council Bills that Could Impact Public Safety

Adams Discusses Two Council Bills that Could Impact Public Safety

By Michael V. Cusenza

Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday afternoon discussed two bills that he has said will have an impact on public safety.

Intro. 549-A would ban the use of solitary confinement in city jails and provide individuals in custody of the Department of Correction (DOC) due process protections prior to being placed in restrictive housing or continued use of restraints. The bill also sets limits on how DOC can use emergency lock-ins and requires regular reporting on department’s use of de-escalation confinement, restrictive housing, and emergency lock-ins.

Intro. 586 would require NYPD officers to document each and every encounter with members of the public, including Level 1 stops, which are basic interactions with no criminality suspected, such as assisting a sick passenger or canvassing for a missing child. These interactions, the caucus stated, are a crucial tool in community policing and public safety. In 2022, the City Police Department made over 3.2 million Level 1 stops.

“Some are saying this bill is about solitary confinement. We need to get this clear once and for all. There is no solitary confinement in Rikers Island. The practice ended in 2019. Using this sleight of hand of using a terminology that invokes a lot of passion to get through a piece of legislation is misinformation at its worst,” Adams said of Intro. 549-A. “We don’t have solitary confinement. It is clearly defined what solitary confinement is. People can’t make it up based on their own definition. We don’t have solitary confinement in New York City jails. It was eliminated in 2019. And so let me say again to all New Yorkers. It does not exist in our jails.

And the New York Daily News Editorial Board made it clear this past week, the bill’s defenders have often used a sleight of hand to suggest the bill is about solitary confinement when it is not. I didn’t say that, that is what the observers who gave an independent analysis of the use of this bill. We all agree that solitary confinement is inhumane. We all agree on that, and that’s why in 2019 it was removed and this administration does not use solitary confinement.

What this bill will do is prevent us from being able to protect the people who are in our care and who are there to ensure they get the proper humane care. And that includes correction officers, that includes staff, that includes the inmates, that includes those who work there for any reason at all. And the New York Post editorial board said the bill will make jails more dangerous for detainees and staff.

On Friday, Adams vetoed Intro. 586.

“It requires police officers to prepare a report on their most basic interactions with the public,” Adams said on Sunday. “And this misinformation, that basic interactions with the public don’t have to be documented, it’s just untrue. Level 1s have been clearly defined by court proceedings, and we have to respect that. Level 1, an officer may approach someone and request information if there is an objective, credible reason to do so. So, if it’s a missing person, that’s an objective, credible reason. If it’s knocking on a thousand doors because we have a person who stabbed six people, that’s an objective, credible reason. It does not require suspicion of criminal activity. And so it’s misinformation to give the impression that this only deals with criminal activity.”


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