The gloves are finally coming off in this year’s mayoral election.
In an email from former Comptroller Bill Thompson’s campaign, three African-American pols blasted rival candidate Bill de Blasio for “deeply offensive” comments yesterday regarding Mr. Thompson’s position on stop-and-frisk.
“We’ve all seen politicians play fast and loose with the truth, but Bill de Blasio is tying himself up in knots trying to tell people that the only African American in the race for Mayor wants ‘to have it both ways’ on racial profiling,” they fumed. “Frankly, the subject of race in New York City – and America – is difficult enough to discuss in the public square without politicians like Mr. de Blasio trying to grandstand about it.”
The three surrogates, Congressman Greg Meeks, Assemblyman Nick Perry and Assemblyman Walter Mosley—identified initially as “concerned leaders”–were reacting to Mr. de Blasio calling Mr. Thompson hypocritical for slamming the city’s police department over racial profiling while also opposing City Council legislation designed to curb the practice.
Mr. Thompson, once branded as a relative moderate on policing issues, on Sunday accused the NYPD of having a mindset similar George Zimmerman, the infamous Florida shooter recently found not guilty of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Another rival, former Councilman Sal Albanese, and outlets like the Daily News, also criticized Mr. Thompson for the alleged flip-flop, but it was the city’s public advocate suddenly enjoying a boost in public polling in the wake of Congressman Anthony Weiner’s latest scandal, who drew today’s push back.
Reached for comment, de Blasio spokesman Dan Levitan fired off a press release entitled “FACT: “Thompson Is Playing All Angles on Police Tactics” with a statement from one of his African-American endorsers.
“The way I see it, facts are facts — Bill Thompson once said to the New York Times there was an ‘overreaction to stop and frisk’ and even today he stands with Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly in refusing to support the Inspector General bill and the racial profiling ban that would finally end the misuse of stop-and-frisk on our streets,” said State Senator Bill Perkins.
View the full email to Mr. Thompson’s campaign list below:
We’ve all seen politicians play fast and loose with the truth, but Bill de Blasio is tying himself up in knots trying to tell people that the only African American in the race for Mayor wants “to have it both ways” on racial profiling.
“We’ve all seen politicians play fast and loose with the truth, but Bill de Blasio is tying himself up in knots trying to tell people that the only African American in the race for Mayor wants “to have it both ways” on racial profiling. Mr. de Blasio knows very well that Bill Thompson has been committed to reforming stop and frisk by banning racial profiling and replacing Commissioner Kelly for years.
Frankly, the subject of race in New York City – and America – is difficult enough to discuss in the public square without politicians like Mr. de Blasio trying to grandstand about it.
Mr. de Blasio should stop lying about Mr. Thompson’s record, especially on the subjects of race and racial profiling. It is deeply offensive.
Bill Thompson doesn’t need anybody to tell him that racial profiling and the abuse of stop and frisk are terribly wrong. He knows that in his heart, in his head, and through the life he has lived. Anybody who knows Bill – and anybody who has heard him talk about this, including his inspiring speech at Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn this past Sunday – knows that. As Mayor, Bill will keep the city safe and protect our neighborhoods from violence without violating the rights of our neighbors.
Bill knows the truth – to end the abuse of stop and frisk we need a new Mayor who will lead with strength and conviction. That’s exactly the kind of Mayor Bill Thompson will be.
Bill Thompson’s plan is clear, it’s consistent – and it’s honest. He will fix stop and frisk by banning racial profiling, replace Commissioner Kelly, and put 2,000 new police officers on the street who will use community policing to target criminals, not innocent black and Latino youth. Protecting every neighborhood from crime by leading from the front, not sniping from behind.
That’s why we stand with Bill Thompson – and we’re glad you do too.
U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks
New York State Assemblyman Walter Mosley
New York State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry
Updated (11:40 a.m.): Included response from the de Blasio campaign.