Joe Lhota Suggests Bill de Blasio Has ‘No Soul’

Staten Island borough president endorses mayoral candidate Joe Lhota during a press conference today.

Staten Island borough president endorses mayoral candidate Joe Lhota during a press conference today.

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota pounced on his rival Bill de Blasio today, suggesting his opponent had “no soul” during an endorsement event with Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro.

“You’re either for it or against it,” said Mr. Lhota in response to a question about comments made earlier today by Mr. de Blasio regarding a court-appointed monitor for the police department.

In a radio interview this morning, Mr. de Blasio said he believed the monitor–which was ordered as part of Judge Shira Sheindlin’s stop-and-frisk ruling–was “a temporary reality,” arguing that once the city had a new police commissioner and new local oversight in place, the monitor would no longer be necessary. But Mr. Lhota slammed the comments as pure hypocrisy, given Mr. de Blasio’s previous push for added oversight.

“You’re gonna flip-flop like that all in one conversation, it talks about someone who has no soul,” Mr. Lhota charged.

The comments came at a press conference in Staten Island where Molinaro–who had backed Democrat Christine Quinn during the primary–said Mr. Lhota was now the man for the job, in part because of his support for stop-and-frisk.

“You give a bill of rights to criminals and that’s absolutely wrong,” said Mr. Molinaro, defending the NYPD. “If there’s a certain particular area where crime is high and guns are being distributed, you see the police vans go up the towers. Is that discrimination? No it’s not. You go to the location where the crime is being committed.”

He also praised Mr. Lhota’s former boss, Rudy Giuliani, crediting the administration for a cleaned up New York City.

For his part, Mr. Lhota said that, as he had predicted, the city was already feeling the impact of the court ruling, as well as other efforts to rein in stop-and-frisk. According to numbers obtained by the New York Post, the city has seen a bump in shootings and a drop in gun seizures in recent weeks—proving stop-and-frisk was indeed important to crime prevention, Mr. Lhota said.

“I knew her actions would have a chilling effect on the men and women of the New  York City police department,” said Mr. Lhota, who argued the “body blow” was further compounded by the City Council’s passage of legislation appointing an NYPD inspector general and expanding the definition of racial profiling.

But Mr. de Blasio, one of the most vocal critics of stop-and-frisk, insisted at his own endorsement rally today that it was impossible to blame any upticks on the ruling because it has yet to be implemented.

“There’s been no meaningful change in policy or practice since the ruling. The ruling’s being appealed by the city as we speak!” he charged. He also doubled down on his argument that the city can reform its policies without compromising safety.

“You can’t have hard-working New Yorkers, law-abiding New Yorkers, feeling that their children are being treated unfairly on a regular basis. It’s not gonna work for the long-term. You can’t have a situation where constitutional rights are not scrupulously followed,” he said.