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Gov. Paterson to rule on stop and frisk policy

July 15, 2010 5:16:55 PM PDT
With Commissioner Kelly stepping up the pressure on the Governor, David Paterson has about 48 hours to decide whether to sign a bill that would for the first time put limits on the NYPD's stop and frisk tactics.

About 1,600 times a day, the NYPD stops and frisks or questions New Yorkers. Most of the time, minorities and 90 percent of them have done nothing wrong, yet their names and other personal information are stored in a database.

State lawmakers agree that crosses the line and recently passed a bill that would prohibit the recording of names when an arrest is not made. The Governor has about 48 hours to decide whether to make the measure law.

Jim Hoffer "It's a privacy rights issue. I mean we're talking a database with hundreds of thousands of people's personal information and they've done nothing wrong?"

Gov Paterson responds, "Well, it's a privacy rights issue but it's also an issue as to whether or not the police department can maintain that data after they had a reasonable suspicion after stopping someone".

Commissioner Kelly has been lobbying the Governor and says if the bill is signed an important crime fighting tool will be seriously weakened.

"I believe stop and question program is saving lives, it's a life saving program," said Kelly.

Recent Eyewitness News investigations have raised serious questions about the NYPD's aggressive stop & frisk policy. Among the findings: a record number of stops yielding few arrests and when a summons is given. Half of the time, Eyewitness News discovered, the court tosses them out. This bill would not end stop and frisk. It would limit the database of names to only those arrested.

Commissioner Kelly met again yesterday with the Governor and gave him new data in an attempt to convince him to veto the bill.

"We looked at the additional data all night and we'll come to a decision as soon as we can," adds Paterson.

One state lawmaker and candidate for Attorney General says the choice is clear.

"We don't need to create data banks on innocent people in America. And we can protect our safety without doing that the governor should sign the bill," said Sen. Brodsky.

In an effort to get the Governor's support, Commissioner Kelly has agreed to purge names from the database after one year.

Mayor Bloomberg is also urging the governor to veto the bill.

He has until Saturday at midnight to make a decision.

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