At a press conference littered with grisly imagery, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ripped apart a federal court ruling today that found current stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional.
“This is a very dangerous decision made by a judge that does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the Constitution as determined by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a jam-packed City Hall event with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at his side.
“I worry for my kids and I worry for your kids and I worry for you and I worry for me. Crime can come back at any time,” he warned.
In a major blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s much-touted policing agenda, a judge has declared the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy in violation of constitutional rights.
“[T]he City adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data,” ruled the federal judge, Shira Scheindlin. “This has resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”
At one point in the mayor’s race–not too long ago, in fact–Bill de Blasio was focused on Council Speaker Christine Quinn and convincing voters that he was the “clear progressive alternative to her.” But after Ms. Quinn tumbled in the polls, Mr. de Blasio’s messaging became significantly more complicated.
The city’s public advocate is hoping the issue du jour, dual City Council bills that install an NYPD inspector general and expand the definition of police profiling, will now help cast him as the progressive alternative to not only Ms. Quinn, but former Congressman Anthony Weiner and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, as well. (Ms. Quinn’s loss has been Mr. Weiner and Mr. Thompson’s gain. Both are now within the margin of error of her in the latest public poll.)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly threatened in their starkest terms to date today that two police reform bills headed for passage will compromise public safety–enabling terrorists, criminals and gang members–but refused to place the blame on the City Council speaker, who is allowing the bills to go to vote.
Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bloomberg, joined by more than a dozen law endorsement officials at police headquarters, pointed to the city’s record-low shooting and murder rates, and warned the safety gains the city has won are at risk of being blundered if the bills, which would create an inspector general over the NYPD and expand the definition of racial profiling, are passed by the City Council.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted a plan by the federal Justice Department to install a monitor over the NYPD on Thursday, arguing it would compromise the city’s crime fighting and put lives at risk.
“We think that a monitor would be even more disruptive than an IG,” the mayor said during an unrelated press conference in Long Island City, Queens, referring to a plan by the City Council to create an Inspector General over the department.
Earlier this week, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg breathed fire and brimstone at a plethora of politicians for failing to support his law-and-order agenda, some police reform advocates reacted harshly and said Mr. Bloomberg was deflecting from the real issues.
But not Joe Lhota. In fact, Mr. Lhota, a Republican vying to replace the term-limited Mr. Bloomberg, thought the speech was better than anything he’s ever heard from a mayor.
“Bravo! Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg for that speech,” Mr. Lhota exclaimed in a radio interview with Brian Lehrer this morning. “It was probably the best speech I’ve ever heard a mayor of the City of New York give in the 59 years I’ve been a resident of this city.”
Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis believes “a robot” could soon end the debate over the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, he said last night.
“The stop-and-frisk law is going to go away by itself,” Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire business executive, said at the New York Observer-sponsored event. “There’s new technology for the 21st century. It’s going to be a robot or a handgun that identifies if somebody is carrying a concealed weapon. And that’s going to happen, so the stop-and-frisk law over the next year or two will go away by itself.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn may be allies, but they thoroughly disagree on Quinn-backed legislation that would install an inspector general to oversee the city’s police department. Accordingly, before speaking at an unrelated event this morning, Mr. Bloomberg delivered a lengthy speech blasting the bill.
“That’s not an Inspector General; that’s a policy supervisor, and I don’t think any rational person would say we need two competing police commissioners,” Mr. Bloomberg said, according to a transcript provided by his office. “There would be questions in the ranks of police officers about who is really in charge – and whose policies they should follow. That kind of breakdown in the chain of command would be disastrous for public safety.”
In his final State of the City address this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a number of new policies he’ll implement in the last of his twelve years in office. In addition to banning Styrofoam in restaurants and an expansion of electric car parking space, among other initiatives, Mr. Bloomberg notably announced the city will simply ticket and release New Yorkers caught with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana, rather than holding them in custody.
“There’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record,” Mr. Bloomberg declared. “Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. And we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But I’ll tell you, we won’t wait for that to happen.”
Ray Kelly tends to stay out of politics, much to the dismay of some, but the city’s police commissioner fired a rhetorical shot at President Barack Obama while discussing gun violence with the Daily News yesterday.
“Maybe the city most affected (by guns) is Chicago,” Mr. Kelly said. “The President’s hometown. But barely a peep out of him.”