The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is expected to sue the New York City Council Tuesday over its controversial "bias profiling" law on grounds it violates state law and is so confusing it forces NYPD officers to guess about how to do their job.
"The language of the so-called 'biased policing law' is unconstitutionally vague and will only serve to confuse police officers regarding its racial profiling provisions," said PBA president Patrick Lynch in a statement Monday, "while hampering their ability to enforce the existing state law."
The council narrowly passed the law, officially known as Local Law 7, in August over the strenuous objection of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, both of whom said the law would hamstring police and make them the object of numerous lawsuits.
A spokesman for the council didn't return a request for comment late Monday.
The law expanded the scope of "profiling" under city law and created a new right for citizens to bring lawsuits against the police for violations of the statute.
"We believe that the City Council overstepped the bounds of its authority with the passage of" the law, Lynch said in the statement.
The council doesn't have the authority to enact the bias bill because it is at odds with established state criminal procedure law, which takes precedence, Lynch said. Bloomberg raised the same argument when he filed a lawsuit against the law Sept. 3.
The state law provides a uniform set of laws, regardless of whether local legislation is consistent or inconsistent with it, according to Bloomberg's suit.
The PBA believes the law is so vague in parts that it leaves police officers, "on pain of civil and potential contempt liability," to guess about the meaning of its provisions.
A source familiar with the lawsuit, which is expected to be filed today in Manhattan State Supreme Court, indicated the PBA was motivated in part to file its lawsuit because of concerns that the new mayor might move to drop Bloomberg's legal challenge.
Another provision of the council establishing an inspector general is not being challenged by the expected lawsuit.