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Philadelphia's Police Union Sues Over Ban On Low-Level Traffic Stops: 'Stupidity At Its Best'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia's police union filed a lawsuit Tuesday over the city's new Driving Equality Law. The law is supposed to go into effect next month.

It bans officers from pulling over vehicles for certain traffic violations considered low level, like driving with a broken tail light.

"This is stupidity at its best," Philadelphia FOP President John McNesby said.

McNesby is suing the city, plus its mayor and police commissioner to put the brakes on the recently-passed Driving Equality Law.

"You don't want an unsafe city. This is gonna condone this behavior," McNesby said.

The law aims to prevent discriminatory traffic stops by banning officers from pulling over vehicles based on secondary violations. For instance, a registration plate not clearly displayed or a vehicle being driven without an inspection.

Some drivers like the idea.

"In the lens of social equity, I think it's a great thing," Emma Richman said.

"In order for progress to happen, sometimes you have to try new things," Dan Cohn said.

The legislation was written by City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas.

He said, in a statement, "We expect the courts to reaffirm that driving equality is legal and necessary."

McNesby disagrees.

"I don't want to hear the Black, white issue. That's nonsense. This is going to hurt the Black community. It's going to hurt the white community. It's going to hurt the Asian community. It's gonna hurt the whole city," McNesby said.

The lawsuit also calls the new legislation an "invalid ordinance."

Republican Rep. Martina White represents the northeast. She adds only the General Assembly in Harrisburg has the power to change state vehicle laws, not Philadelphia City Council.

"When you're driving in Pennsylvania, there's an expectation that the laws are the same no matter where you go. And that applies for the state police to be able to enforce the law," White said.

The law is expected to go into effect on March 3.

A Philadelphia city spokesperson wrote in a statement: "The FOP distorts the text and purpose of the achieving Driving Equality Bill and executive order, which were needed and implemented to address the disproportionate number of traffic stops experienced by people of color in Philadelphia. Relevant data shows that certain enumerated stops disproportionately affect people of color; we believe that this bill does not jeopardize public safety. We do not expect this lawsuit to affect the police department's implementation of the bill and EO."

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