Following on the heels of passing the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which diverts the prosecution of a number of low-level nonviolent offenses to civil rather than criminal avenues, the City Council will hear a bill on Tuesday that also addresses criminal justice reform, but this time by targeting bad actors within the NYPD.
Right to Know Act
The Right To Know Act is a legislative package that aims to protect the civil and human rights of New Yorkers while promoting communication, transparency and accountability in everyday interactions between the NYPD and the public. New Yorkers want to live in a safe city where the police treat all residents with dignity and respect, and where police are not considered to be above the law.
The City Council today enacted a series of bills that will give police officers the discretion to steer certain low-level broken windows offenses like drinking in public, littering, and public urination to civil court, rather than criminal court.
"Nobody who has littered or made excessive noise... should bear the brunt of the criminal justice system," said Queens Council Member Rory Lancman, a bill sponsor, on Wednesday.
It is ironic that many New Yorkers are not aware of the Right to Know Act, the legislative package that aims to protect them while promoting communication, transparency and accountability between them and the New York Police Department.
Thanks to the Communities United for Police Reform, the Right to Know Act is becoming better known. Even so, there is much more our citizens need to know if they want to be treated with dignity and respect when interacting with the police.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hasn’t taken a position on a stalled package of police reform bills dubbed the Right to Know Act—but the Young Women’s Initiative she created recommended adopting the act’s proposed policies today.