NEW YORK, N.Y. - New York's City Council voted Thursday to create an outside watchdog for the nation's biggest police department and make it easier for people to file profiling claims against it.
The vote overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vetoes and prompted him to say the city's safety is being jeopardized.
Proponents see the legislation as a check on the New York Police Department, which has come under scrutiny for its heavy use of a tactic known as stop and frisk and its extensive surveillance of Muslims, which was revealed in stories by The Associated Press.
Bloomberg said the new oversight will make it "harder for our police officers to protect New Yorkers and continue to drive down crime."
"Make no mistake: The communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City's historic crime reductions," he said in a statement.
A federal judge recently ruled the NYPD discriminated against minorities with its stop and frisk program and ordered a monitor to oversee changes.
The measures mark the most aggressive legislative effort in years to put new checks on the NYPD. And the vote comes less than two weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin's order for a monitor to focus on stop and frisk, a practice she said the department had used in a way that violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic men. The city is appealing.
Civil rights groups and minority advocates had pushed for the legislation. Supporters say the new laws, coupled with the judge's ruling, will end practices they see as unfair and would mould a more trusted, effective police force.
Benjamin Jealous, the head of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the country's most prominent civil rights organizations, suggested that police elsewhere look to the NYPD as an example.
"What happens in New York city has consequences for the nation," Jealous said.
Bloomberg and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly say that between the council measures and the court ruling, a police force that has fought crime down to record lows will be tangled up in second-guessing and lawsuits.
"We think both pieces of legislation are unwise and will undermine public safety," Kelly said Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.
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