Peter Vallone Jr., chair of the City Council’s Public Safety committee, is fuming over the federal Justice Department’s support for a federal monitor over the NYPD.
Filling in for a traveling Mayor Michael Bloomberg on John Gambling’s WOR radio show this morning, Mr. Vallone, who is already fighting other measures to curb stop-and-frisk, blasted Attorney General Eric Holder for trying to “mess with New York City” by suggesting new police oversight in response to a lawsuit against the controversial policy. He specifically warned a monitor would lead to more shooting deaths.
“We might as well just call our police commissioner ‘Deputy Monitor’ because they won’t be in charge any more,” said Mr. Vallone, who accused the Justice Department of intervening in an attempt to change the conversation away from a slew of bad news.
“It’s the best way for them to turn the attention from the problems that Eric Holder and the administration are having … I think that’s part of this also, because now we’re talking about this and were not talking about the IRS or the press snooping or any of the other problems, giving guns to the drug dealers,” he said. “He can now move the conversation to reforming police procedures.”
But Mr. Vallone, who is running for Queens borough president, and a sympathetic Mr. Gambling argued the oversight was unnecessary, pointing to the city’s record-low murder rate, which is far below other cities, including Chicago.
“How come he’s not all over Rahm Emanuel?” asked Mr. Gambling, referring to the city’s mayor and former White House chief of staff.
“Exactly!” exclaimed Mr. Vallone, claiming the city is doing just fine on its own. “We don’t need their help. We’re doing very well in New York City, as you pointed out. Much better than every other city.”
He further said the consequences would be disastrous.
“I’d much rather a 14-year-old boy get stopped legally–civilly–courteously sent on his way than a 14-year-old girl get shot in the head on a bus. And that’s what will happen once we get rid of stop-and-frisk,” he warned. “That’s the biggest civil rights violation going. Being killed, right?”
Mr. Vallone, a former prosecutor, was equally critical of his City Council colleagues, blasting them as “clueless” when it comes to the law.
“Some of them actually have good intent, but are just clueless. They don’t have a day of law enforcement experience, and that’s a big problem,” he said. “We’ve got these elected officials that don’t have a clue who are now passing these laws, which are very, very dangerous.”
“The thought of the City Council being in charge of the security of New York City when it comes to terrorism is probably as terrifying a thought as I can come up with,” Mr. Gambling quipped.