NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In his weekly radio address Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted two proposals that he said would “undermine public safety” by placing a yoke on the NYPD.
In the address, Bloomberg credited police Commissioner Ray Kelly and his officers with driving down crime in the city using proactive policing strategies.
“Yet despite the NYPD’s incredible record of reducing crime, saving lives, and making neighborhoods far safer, the NYPD is now under attack because this is an election year,” Bloomberg said.
In particular, Bloomberg took issue with two bills before the City Council. One of them would create an inspector general to monitor the department,, while the other would let people sue police if they felt they were stopped-and-frisked because of bias based on race, sexual orientation or certain other factors.
Bloomberg characterized both pieces of legislation as “two dangerous bills that would undermine public safety.”
The inspector general proposal, Bloomberg said, “would undermine the accountability that is so essential to the Police Department’s success in driving down crime. It could also undermine our counterterrorism efforts by making the law enforcement agencies that we work with on intelligence gathering less willing to share information with us.”
The second bill, Bloomberg said, “would preclude the NYPD from sharing key information, including gender, age and race, to identify suspects.” Such a proposal would make life difficult not just for police, but for everyone, according to Bloomberg.
“So think about this – if an officer is told by a witness that a 20-something white man wearing a blue windbreaker was seen shooting a gun, the officer can only use the color of the windbreaker as a lead, and the officer would have to stop 80-year-old black women if they were wearing blue windbreakers, Bloomberg said. “Even more absurd, if they stopped someone who perfectly fits the description provided — a 20-something white man wearing a blue windbreaker in our example – and that person turns out to not be the shooter, that person can sue the NYPD.”
If the proposal passed, Bloomberg said, “all officers will be under threat of going to trial for doing their jobs, and that would make all of us less safe. We cannot afford to play election-year politics with the safety of our city, and we can’t afford to roll back the incredible progress of the past 20 years.”
Both bills stem from complaints against the stop-and-frisk program, which Mayor Bloomberg has defended vigorously as a lawsuit over the practice has pressed on in federal court.
The mayor said the tactic has helped keep New Yorkers safe.
“The question is not whether the NYPD can continue driving crime to new record lows. The question is whether elected officials and special interest groups will allow you to,” Bloomberg said last week.
“The claims that appropriate monitoring of the NYPD will compromise public safety is empty rhetoric supported by no evidence,” Quinn said in March.
Quinn has come out against the bill making it easier to sue over stops-and-frisks, but has said she wouldn’t block a vote if backers take the rare step of pushing one without her support.
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