Quantcast
Connect with us

NYC mayor isn’t opposed to secret orders to boot hundreds of people from their homes

Published

on

Mayor Bill de Blasio commented for the first time Monday on the Daily News/ProPublica’s investigation into the NYPD’s use of the nuisance abatement law to boot hundreds of people from homes, saying while he supports the underlying “concept” of the law to keep neighborhoods safe, he thinks “there should always be due process” and promised to “look carefully at protocols.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The investigation found judges approved 75 percent of the NYPD’s secret requests for orders that locked people out of their homes before they’ve had a chance to defend themselves, the very definition of removing one’s right to due process, lawyers say.

De Blasio spoke on the issue after being asked about it at an unrelated press conference. De Blasio, who was elected on a promise of police reform, had earlier deferred comment to the NYPD.

But mayoral spokeswoman Monica Klein clarified: When the mayor said, “there should always be due process,” the mayor doesn’t mean he’s opposed to the secret lockout orders.

As for the promise to “look carefully at protocols to make sure that there’s appropriate due process and decisions are made carefully,” Klein said that’s going to be handled by the city Law Department, the agency already tasked with reviewing every filing and settlement agreement in the NYPD’s nuisance abatement actions as the polices’ co-counsel.

ADVERTISEMENT

“So it’s basically self-policing,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “I believe that there should be sunlight to the protocols to ensure that the rights of tenants are not being abused. And the entity that basically prosecutes these cases cannot be the same entity,” she said. “It’s a conflict.”

James said she has started the process of opening her own inquiry by sending a letter to the administration requesting a meeting, and urging the NYPD to “cease and desist” secret lockout requests unless the occupants pose an immediate danger.

The NYPD has continued to decline requests for comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several sources said the City Council is also in the process of scheduling an oversight hearing on the matter.

Meanwhile, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn/Queens, said he plans to forward The News/ProPublica’s findings to the Dept. of Justice as part of a request for a federal investigation into whether the NYPD has a “pattern and practice” of violating the civil rights of minorities.

“The fact that people have been placed at risk of losing their home, thrown out of their apartment, often without a criminal conviction, is shameful,” said Jeffries. “That should shock the conscience of every New Yorker, and merits oversight and review at every level of government.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Several attorneys told The News the issue is ripe for a class action suit 2014 which is what ultimately pushed the city to reform stop and frisk.

Darpana Sheth, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, said her organization “is looking more closely into it.”

In November, the Institute reached a partial settlement in a class action lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia challenging the constitutionality of some of the exact same practices in its civil forfeiture program.

ADVERTISEMENT

The settlement vacates all existing closing orders, and stipulates that any new ones must meet strict evidentiary standards.

The settlement also voids key provisions of existing agreements that owners signed in order to get back into their homes or to prevent them from being forfeited. The provisions, identical to ones routine in the NYPD’s nuisance abatement settlements, include banning certain family members from homes, limiting property owners’ rights to defend themselves against forfeiture attempts if accused of wrongdoing in the future, and requiring government approval of any tenants, subtenants or transfer of ownership.

Chris Dunn, associate legal director of the NYCLU, said the city of New York and the courts should create a special process to review all existing closing orders, along with settlements between the police and tenants or homeowners in nuisance abatement cases.

“While it’s good that judges have been told to put the brakes on issuing new closing orders, the courts need to take the next step and review all existing orders,” said Dunn, referring to a notice that the city’s deputy chief administrative judge put out advising judges to limit granting closing orders against residences, particularly when the evidence is stale or based on hearsay.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dunn added, “The courts have been complicit in this miscarriage of justice, and they need to move aggressively to remedy the situation by voiding any improperly issued closing orders and by voiding all agreements where tenants were wrongly coerced into surrendering rights in their homes.”

He said the NYCLU would wait to see how the city reforms its nuisance abatement actions on its own before deciding what steps the organization would take.

 

Erin Durkin of the New York Daily News contributed reporting to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Internet blown away by Giuliani’s ‘pants-sh*tting panic’ freak out on CNN’s Cuomo

Published

on

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received harsh reviews of his Thursday evening appearance on CNN with anchor Chris Cuomo.

Many people worried about Giuliani's mental health after watching the interview.

Here is some of what people were saying about Trump's defense attorney.

https://twitter.com/RadioFreeTom/status/1174860581897199617

https://twitter.com/ananavarro/status/1174859510600613888?s=21

https://twitter.com/elise_jordan/status/1174857898800898048?s=21

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Maddow is visibly shocked Trump is claiming in court the president can’t even be investigated

Published

on

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC was flabbergasted by the latest court moves by President Donald Trump as he continues to hide his tax returns from investigators.

The host noted the ongoing legal battle Trump is waging to keep his accounting firm, Mazars, from handing over eight years of his tax returns to New York state investigators.

The host was shocked by the headline on the front-page of The Washington Post website.

[caption id="attachment_1544917" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Headline in The New York Times: "Trump Lawyers Argue He Cannot Be Criminally Investigated" screengrab.[/caption]

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

WATCH: GOP congressman hides in an elevator as veterans try to confront him about his support for Trump

Published

on

On Thursday, Common Defense, an activist group of combat veterans, followed Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) through a hallway and demanded to know why he isn't doing something about President Donald Trump's lawless conduct.

Crenshaw — himself a former Navy SEAL — tried to shoo them away, and eventually ducked into an elevator to get away from them.

"How can you let a criminal like Donald Trump run roughshod over our democracy and shred everything that you and I fought for?" demanded one of the protesters on a video uploaded by the group. "Like c'mon man. Like how can you just sit there idly by and not do your duty? We need your leadership right now. You cannot be complicit in this man's crimes. It is immoral. It's laid out clearly in the Mueller report."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image