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‘No way I will sign this’: Mayor Adams threatens to veto NYPD reform bill

Mayor Eric Adams said he plans to veto a bill that, if passed, would require police to start reporting “low-level stops” where the person is free to leave.

The move – which comes as Adams reaches the halfway point of his first term in office – would also mark the third time he’s pulled a veto – and could lead to a lengthy court battle in the near future.

“There’s no way I will sign this bill into law,” Adams said during an interview with CBS News New York on Sunday, arguing that the bill would “endanger public safety.”

While the police are already required to report stop-and-frisk reports and arrests, the proposed bill – also known as the How Many Stops Act – would add “level one” and “level two” encounters into the fold. These low-level stops cover encounters where the police don’t have reasonable suspicion and the person in question is free to leave at will, like when someone goes to the authorities for help or is being asked to show their ID.

It’s being paired with another bill that aims to require the city to record instances where someone refuses to be searched by the police.

“The more and more you have police officers handle paperwork, they’re not going after perpetrators,” Adams said during the interview. “That is not how you keep the city safe.”

Adams’ comments come days after City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams showed her support for the measure. The bill is being sponsored by 32 of the 51-member City Council, almost guaranteeing its passage in the chamber. It also has the support of the city’s Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Adams’ anticipated third veto is in stark contrast to former mayor Bill de Blasio – who did not issue a single veto during his eight years of back-to-back mayoral terms. Adams issued his first veto at the beginning of last year, when he put a stop to a bill that would have fined non-artists buying certain property in SoHo and NoHo. In June, Adams then issued his second veto over a package of housing bills aimed at giving more assistance to homeless New Yorkers.

During the latter, the City Council successfully overrode Adams’ veto with a two-thirds majority vote – which may be headed to a legal court battle. The same could happen with the How Many Stops Act, which will come to a vote before the end of this month.

Politicians in support of the bill – as well as advocacy groups – have argued the measure would increase transparency in policing. The New York Civil Liberties Union said the bill is necessary in the face of the NYPD’s “vast program of racial profiling.”

“These bills are common sense transparency measures that bring much needed oversight to encounters that have previously been all too easy to sweep under the rug,” NYCLU Assistant Policy Director Michael Sisitzsky said during his testimony before the City Council in March. “The NYCLU urges the Council to move swiftly to pass these measures into law.”

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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