AG Candidates Gather Against Stop-and-Frisk Database

Four of the five Democratic candidates for attorney general gathered at the office of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to urge Gov. Paterson to sign legislation that would ban the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk database.

In order of appearance:

Richard Brodsky reminded voters of his work in the legislature:

“When I stood on the floor of the legislature and debated  this bill it became very clear that we were facing a political consequence to a very difficult public policy matter. What is the balance between safety and the privacy and the rights of citizens to be free from the government and free from government interference? The Assembly made that decision quite strongly…The people of this state are facing invasions of their privacy of the kind they don’t really understand.

Kathleen Rice reminded the assembled of her work as a prosecutor:

I have been law enforcement for almost 20 years and I can tell you that the round-up the usual suspects mode of law enforcement doesn’t work. What it does do is incease the level of distrust between communities and law enforcement that actually leads communities to be less safe…I have spent my time as D.A of Nassau County for five years building and strenghtening relationship between law enforcement and communities because that, at its core, is what keeps communities safe.

Sean Coffey called for ending data collection until stop-and-frisk could be reformed:

Stop-and-frisk is no doubt an effective and important policy when it is used appropriately and effectively and I think there are real issues about whether that’s the case given some of the statistics we are hearing about, and certainly we need to mend the program, not end it. Until we do mend it I think it’s inapproriate to have a database that, as has been said before, captures the data for innocent people, particularly when it appears some of these stop-and-frisks go beyond the constitutional standard.

Eric Dinallo said the database was unconstiutional:

Stop and frisk is an important constitutional tool. This is about the database. What bothers me is, from a constituional perspective, from a bedrock principle of American law and policy, I think that this database has come very close to threatening to undermine the concept of innocent until proven guilty…even when a police officer agrees you are innocent, you are still put in a database and over time essentially become guilty and I think that’s wrong.

Eric Schneiderman was not there. A campaign aide emailed to say that he too is urging Paterson to sign the bill but that he could not get to the Public Advocate’s office in time.

And Republican Dan Donovan also was not present, but a campaign aide said he too thought Paterson should sign the bill.

AG Candidates Gather Against Stop-and-Frisk Database