NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For the second Sunday in a row, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took to the pulpit of a Brooklyn church to defend the city’s stop-and-frisk policy.
The mayor continued to slightly soften his stance on stop-and-frisk, while not stepping away from his belief that the practice needs to continue. He said that the controversial NYPD procedure saves lives, but he did tell congregates that bad behavior on the part of officers involved will not be tolerated.
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports
“I understand why some people want us to stop making stops,” Bloomberg said at the Christian Cultural Center. “Innocent people who are stopped can be treated disrespectfully, and that is just not acceptable. Commissioner [Ray] Kelly won’t tolerate it and neither will I.”
The mayor said that he and Kelly will continue to work to improve relations between the community and police, and he also defended the treatment of those who have committed wrongdoing.
“If you’ve done something wrong,” Bloomberg said, “you deserve nothing but respect and courtesy from the police. My door is always open to new ideas and information, and just this past week I met with Rev. Al Sharpton and others who disagree with me on this issue. I know that we can disagree without being disagreeable.”
Bloomberg said that he expects the number of stop-and-frisk cases to start dropping in the coming months, and told congregants that “we are all in this together.”
The mayor’s speech came hours before New Yorkers who are angry about the policy took part in a silent march to call for an end to it. Members of almost 300 different groups, including the Reverend Al Sharpton gathered for the march, claiming that stop-and-frisk is just an excuse for racial profiling.
The march drew supporters from outside of the African-American and Latino communities as well. Tina Guarino told CBS 2 that although she will most likely never be targeted by the program, she felt the need to march in support of those who will.
“Even though I’m not an individual who would typically be profiled, I’m not an African-American or Latino male. I think it’s something that every American should care about because it is a violation of our fourth amendment rights,” she said.
Police Commissioner Kelly defended the policy and cited the city’s low murder rate.
“It is clearly a life saving practice. We’ve had less than one murder a day in this city, no other city per one-hundred thousand comes close to this,” he said.
Mayor Bloomberg said that the practice would be scaled back, but not done away with.
What is your stance on the stop-and-frisk policy? Do you agree with Bloomberg that it’s necessary because it saves lives, or do you think that it goes too far? Sound off with your thoughts and comments in the section below…