Majority of Council Members Now Support ‘Right to Know’ Act

"What I am dealing with is figuring out a way to get justice right now."

NYPD officers in Manhattan. (Photo: Spencer Platt for Getty Images)
NYPD officers in Manhattan. (Photo: Spencer Platt for Getty Images) (Photo: Spencer Platt for Getty Images)

A majority of City Council members now back the “Right to Know” Act, a pair of bills that would require cops to identify themselves upon making a stop and request permission before searching an individual, a top sponsor of the legislation said today.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, a Brooklyn Democrat, said at a Manhattan conference for the Council’s left-leaning Progressive Caucus that there are 27 backers for the consent to search bill and 30 for the identification bill.

“Now that we have this, I believe a majority of the Council now wants to hear it and now we gotta start pushing it. We gotta start working,” Mr. Reynoso told the Observer. “We feel like we’re making progress. We want to do this the right way. We’re not about rushing anything and doing it the wrong way.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is a loud opponent of the Right to Know Act and a general critic of the Council’s attempts to increase oversight of the NYPD. Following Mr. Bratton’s lead, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, is also against the bills.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, an advocate for police reform and also a mayoral ally, has yet to take a formal position on the Right to Know Act. Mr. Reynoso said he looked forward to “meaningful conversations” with the NYPD and indicated he did not want to try to override a mayoral veto, even though it’s been almost a year since the legislation was first introduced.

34 of the 51 council members would need to vote for the bills to override Mr. de Blasio. Since Mr. de Blasio took office in 2014, no bills have been vetoed or overridden.

“The most ideal situation is that we’re all on board,” Mr. Reynoso said. “That’s still gonna be our end goal. We want the NYPD, the mayor’s office, the City Council, everyone working together to find out how to make this the best legislation we can possible make it.”

“We don’t want to have something where we think the mayor is going to veto it or anything,” he added.

Mr. Reynoso argued recent developments, including the NYPD’s decision to require cops to issue “receipts” to people they stop but do not arrest, gave him hope that the legislation will soon be passed and signed into law. He would not put a timetable on the process, though he characterized Ms. Mark-Viverito as “supportive” of lawmakers’ efforts to advocate for the bills.

“What I am dealing with is figuring out a way to get justice right now and [Ms. Mark-Viverito] understands what we’re saying,” he said. “We’re discussing this one to see if she wants to move forward.”

In response to Mr. Reynoso’s announcement, Monica Klein, a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, pointed to comments he made in November 2014. “I have raised concerns about that legislation because I want to make sure that we don’t inadvertently undermine the ability of law enforcement to do its job,” he said.

Ms. Mark-Viverito’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Majority of Council Members Now Support ‘Right to Know’ Act