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The NYPD oversight fight

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
August 8, 2013 1:32:58 PM PDT
Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want it. Neither does his police commish. But an Inspector General to oversee the NYPD moved a step closer to reality today. A New York City Council member, considered a swing vote on the upcoming tally to override Bloomberg's veto of the monitor, today saying he'll vote in favor of the independent inspector.

Is this just another bureaucratic oversight? Maybe. Shouldn't elected officials be responsible for doing this? Yes. But the hard truth is that the relationship between the NYPD and large chunks of the community it's sworn to protect and serve is at its lowest point since the last term of the Giuliani Administration.

And, just in case you need any reminding of how bad it was back then, it wasn't good.

Remember "It's Giuliani time" when several cops inserted a plumber's plunger inside Abner Louima at a police precinct? Or the 41 shots memorialized by Bruce Springsteen in the death of Amadou Diallo, as he reached for his wallet on his front steps - a wallet three cops thought may have been a gun?

Lots of blame going around about who's to blame for the distrustful relationship - stop and frisk? - but the hard truth is the solution is more important than the blame game. And most New Yorkers think it's time for a solution.

In the meantime, the focus is on the Inspector General override vote, and what happens after that. Not coincidentally, the political candidates for Mayor are all over the issue. We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, a rally tonight to protest the grand jury decision in the Bronx to not charge the New York police officer who shot and killed an armed teenager in his own home. 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was killed as he ran into the bathroom, flushing marijuana down the toilet. Officer Richard Haste says he thought Graham had a gun. He didn't.

Last spring, a judge dismissed an indictment against Haste, citing prosecutorial misconduct. Now, some in the community are angry again over the grand jury's decision to not bring charges.

Finally, a reminder about our two big debates being held on Friday but airing on Sunday.

I'll be moderating the debate between Democratic Party candidates for New York City Comptroller Eliot Spitzer and Scott Stringer. You can watch it Sunday at 11 a.m., and watch it on line live, tomorrow at 10 a.m. at 7online and on our Eyewitness News app. And Sade Baderinwa will moderate the debate between the Republican Party candidates for New York Mayor. You can watch it at noon on Sunday, or live online tomorrow at 1 p.m.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Amy Freeze (in for Lee Goldberg), and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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