As the news cycle spirals around President Barack Obama coming out in support of gay marriage, news surrounding stop-and-frisk politics has also come cascading down after Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a potential candidate for mayor in 2013, upped his criticism this afternoon. Notably, Comptroller John Liu, also a likely mayoral candidate, has gone one step beyond his rivals, who have argued that some stop-and-frisk tactics should remain as a police tool, and called for the policy to end completely.
“While it is true that stop-and-frisk has gotten some guns and criminals off the streets, it’s also true that stop-and-frisk continues to deepen the chasm between communities and police, relationship that is vital to maintaining a safe and secure city for all New Yorkers,” Mr. Liu said in a statement today. “Stop and frisk should be abolished.”
Mr. Liu, who also said the policy “creates an atmosphere akin to martial law,” offered light praise for Mr. de Blasio’s latest efforts, adding, “I certainly support the Public Advocate’s call for an internal examination of NYPD’s stop and frisk practices.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg’s office slammed Mr. de Blasio’s record on the issue, putting out a harshly worded statement of their own from his communications director Howard Wolfson.
“When Bill de Blasio last served in the City’s Executive branch there were 2,000 murders a year. Today we are on track to have less than 500 – a record new low,” he said, referring to Mr. de Blasio’s service in former Mayor David Dinkin’s administration. “Mr. de Blasio may be nostalgic for the days when the ACLU set crime policy in this city, but most New Yorkers don’t want rampant crime to return.”
Mr. Wolfson vowed to continue the current policies as well.
“The fact is Stop, Question and Frisk keeps guns and other weapons off the streets and saves lives,” he continued. “Make no mistake, we will not continue to be the safest big city in America if Mr. de Blasio has his way.”
Mr. de Blasio’s office, of course, had their own rebuttal from his spokesman, Wiley Norvell.
“That’s a defensive, knee-jerk response from Bloomberg’s City Hall that has lost sight of the community trust needed to ensure public safety,” he said, contending Mr. de Blasio’s plan will increase public safety. “As usual on issues like this, the Mayor’s people have chosen to repeat a big lie instead of confronting the facts.”
The other top mayoral candidates, it should be said, have also supported changing current stop-and-frisk policies, but they have’t quite generated [or enjoyed?] the same level of push back from Mr. Bloomberg’s office as Mr. de Blasio did today.
View Mr. Liu’s full statement on the issue below:
“When 700,000 people are stopped and frisked each year in this city,and 9 out of 10 have done absolutely nothing wrong, the mantra of Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect becomes dubious. It creates an atmosphere akin to martial law, the very oppression that many people from around the world came to New York to escape.
“When the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who are stopped andfrisked are people of color, it’s hard to avoid calling stop and friskwhat it really is — racial profiling. Being stopped and frisked isnot a minor inconvenience; it is deeply humiliating and absolutely offensive when based on skin color. There’s simply no place for racial profiling, by the police or anyone. It’s not what New York City is about.
“While it is true that stop-and-frisk has gotten some guns and criminals off the streets, it’s also true that stop-and-frisk continues to deepen the chasm between communities and police, a relationship that is vital to maintaining a safe and secure city forall New Yorkers. Stop and frisk should be abolished.
“I certainly support the Public Advocate’s call for an internalexamination of NYPD’s stop and frisk practices.”
And Mr. Norvell’s here:
“That’s a defensive, knee-jerk response from Bloomberg’s City Hall that has lost sight of the community trust needed to ensure public safety.
“Bill de Blasio’s plan will help protect police officers who enter dangerous circumstances and desperately need residents to trust them and work with them, rather than staying silent due to a growing divide of distrust.
“As usual on issues like this, the Mayor’s people have chosen to repeat a big lie instead of confronting the facts. The truth is that using CompStat to create accountability for reducing unwarranted use of stop and frisk will make our neighborhoods safer.”