Al Sharpton, who clashed endlessly with the Giuliani administration, doesn’t sound thrilled with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s decision to re-appoint Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner as the city’s top cop.
In a statement released this morning just as news of Bill Bratton’s appointment was trickling out, Mr. Sharpton, who has had a warm relationship with Mr. de Blasio, offered a mixed assessment of Mr. Bratton’s record, which includes stints as chief of both the Boston and Los Angeles police departments.
A number of New York City and State elected officials are in Washington D.C. this afternoon to address their concerns about the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk policy. They are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the NYPD’s use of stop and frisk as a civil rights violation. The NYPD stopped a record number of people last year, the vast majority of whom were minorities.
“New Yorkers are fed up with this policy that continually targets our communities,” Assemblyman Karim Camara, Chairman of the New York State Black Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus said in a statement. “The numbers tell a tragic story. One recent report said that more young black men were stopped than actually lived in the city. We cannot get away from the fact that there is implicit racial bias in this tactic used by the NYPD. Since City officials refuse to listen, we are taking our cause to Washington. It’s time for some high-powered back up to advocate for the civil rights of New Yorkers.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilman Jumaane Williams held a press conference outside City Hall yesterday where they called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to end the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy in the wake of a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union showing the police department stopped and interrogated a record number of people last year. The NYCLU report showed the NYPD conducted stop-and-frisks 684,330, the highest total since the department began collecting stop-and-frisk statistics in 2002 and a 603 percent increase since that year. About 87 percent of those stopped and frisked were black or Latino.
“This report, I think, makes it very clear that it is time to end this policy of stop and frisk as presently constituted,” Mr. Stringer said. “Communities of people who are caucasian, people who look like me, never worry about their child or grandchild going to the store for a glass of milk. They’re not worried about the police, they welcome the police on their street corner.”
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been fairly quiet since their rally in Duarte Square last month, but the group is planning a series of candlelight vigils on Sunday to celebrate Martin Luther King Day with the support of local politicians, Russell Simmons and a pair of 1960′s folk musicians.