This afternoon the City Council will vote to override Mayor Bloomberg's vetoes of two pieces of legislation designed to strengthen existing profiling bans, allow citizens to meaningfully challenge discriminatory police practices, and install an Inspector General to broadly review NYPD policy and make recommendations.

"I feel very confident that all 34 people who voted for Intro 1080 are planning to show up to vote 'yes', " says councilmember Brad Lander, who is sponsoring the Community Safety Act along with councilmember Jumaane Williams. "And we will also override the veto on the IG bill. That being said, I have a healthy dose of respect for fate."

The IG bill, Intro 1079, seems likely to become law, as it originally passed 40-11—that's six more votes needed to override the mayor's veto. Intro 1080 passed with 34 votes, and every single one of those votes is needed to make the bill become law.

Confusion about what the bills would actually do has been aided by propaganda promoted by the police unions and trumpeted by the New York Post. Mayoral candidates at last night's debate also mangled the effects of the legislation. The City's public officials haven't been helpful either.

Both the mayor and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly have invoked the threat of terrorism and the specter of the crime-riddled "old days" to lobby against the legislation. "Innocent people will pay a terrible price," Bloomberg said. "Take heart, Al Qaeda wannabes," Kelly added.

Contrary to their hyperbole, Intro 1080 would not prohibit police officers from using a variety of descriptive information when seeking suspects, including age, height, and skin color. It would prohibit officers from solely stopping suspects for their race, gender identity or expression, housing status, and immigration status, expanding the current law against racial profiling.

Intro 1080 would also allow citizens to sue the city for discriminatory police practices (like the practice of disproportionately arresting young men of color for marijuana possession). Plaintiffs would not be able to seek monetary damages, only injunctive relief.

Intro 1079 would appoint an Inspector General within the city's Department of Investigation to broadly review NYPD policies and make non-binding recommendations to the police commissioner. Such oversight stands in stark contrast to the absolute power the NYPD commissioner currently wields, and the patchwork of weak organizations that fall short in curtailing it.

At a press conference last week, the mayor argued that the Community Safety Act was unnecessary because of the federal court decision that ruled the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk unconstitutional. This logic is odd because Bloomberg stridently opposes the federal court decision, and the city is appealing it.

"Both pieces remain necessary, and actually the mayor proved that point when he talked about fingerprinting everyone that comes into NYCHA housing," Lander said. "That's a classic example of biased profiling—not targeting people in a location, but targeting everyone in a particular category. Today that would be permissible, but it would be prohibited by Intro 1080."