After Council Speaker Christine Quinn stormed out of her own press conference in response to a heckler yelling out “Pharaoh Bloomberg!” at the end of the last month, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio carefully presented measured criticism as a response. In fact, his comments expressing puzzlement at her move made him the only likely mayoral contender to be quoted in story after story about the affair. And, asked about the event again on Inside City Hall last night, he continued the argument a little further.
“I was very surprised, to say the least, and I think it was a mistake by the speaker,” Mr. de Blasio began, pivoting to highlight the living wage legislation that the rally was about. “The issue is we’re trying to address income inequality, we’re trying to talk about how to get opportunity for people and help more people in the middle class.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio continued ramping up opposition to what he called the “overuse” of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics today, unleashing a four point plan that notably focuses on a hypothetical executive order Mayor Michael Bloomberg is called on to sign. The executive order, which can be viewed below, requires that stop-and-frisk numbers be included with other crime data and for police commanders to actively seek ways to reduce the tactic’s use.
“A commander is in front of the superior officers at One Police Plaza and they review crime data,” Mr. de Blasio explained to reporters when taking questions after the event. “Now put stop-and-frisk into the question. The value in the discussion would now be getting the number right, not as high as can be as is the current situation.”
Kirsten John Foy, an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and president-elect of the Brooklyn chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is holding weekly vigils to push for prosecutors to take action in the death of African-American teenager Ramarley Graham, who was shot by police at his home in the Bronx last month. Starting tonight, Mr. Foy, representatives from the National Action Network, and Mr. Graham’s parents will stand in front of the 47th Precinct every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Foy says they won’t stop until the district attorney or the U.S. Attorney takes up the case.
“We’re hoping that the district attorney does a complete, thorough investigation and concludes that these officers committed a crime, as most of the community now believes,” Mr. Foy told The Politicker. “Worst case he decides theres no value in the prosecution and then the U.S. Attorney decides to look into this, because what went down here was egregious and criminal.”
Law & Order
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly fielded questions on the department’s controversial stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance programs during a contentious hearing of the City Council Public Safety Committee. Mr. Kelly was ostensibly testifying about the NYPD’s preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year, but the hearing quickly turned into a heated discussion of the department’s most controversial policies when committee members questioned the commissioner following his testimony.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a top-tier mayoral contender in 2013, penned a letter to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly criticizing the police’s “stop-and-frisk” policy. In the letter, Ms. Quinn wrote that the policy “has been carried out in a way that has sewn distrust in communities of color.”
This afternoon, one of the most prominent opponents of the stop-and-frisk policy, Councilman Jumaane Williams, sent out a statement cheering Ms. Quinn on.
“I thank Speaker Quinn for sending this letter; it is a hopeful step forward for the police accountability movement. This is a focus on getting safer streets and better policing for all New Yorkers,” he said. “We need reform because a system that promotes or permits discriminatory justice benefits no one, including the police officers who work hard every day in our communities.”
Law & Order
Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has been a prominent critic of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy and made headlines with his arrest at last year’s West Indian Day Parade, said the guilty plea of an officer charged with civil rights violations stemming from a stop in April 2010 was “a small show of justice” and showed the department has a “policing culture that cultivates racist and sexist mentalities in some of its officers.” He also renewed his call for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to take action on stop-and-frisk.
“The silence from Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly is deafening on this issue, and it is beyond offensive. At this point, I think it is fair to view it as a lack of respect not only for the black, Latino, Caribbean and Muslim communities of New York City, but for all human beings who deserve basic decency,” Councilman Williams said in a statement.