NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some city lawmakers are lashing out at Mayor Michael Bloomberg for saying the NYPD stops “whites too much and minorities too little.”
Bloomberg made the comments Friday on his weekly radio show. The mayor criticized the news media for continually reporting that minorities are stopped more than whites.
“They just keep saying, ‘Oh, it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murders,” Bloomberg said. “In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
The remarks came one day after the City Council passed a pair of bills that would establish an inspector general for the NYPD and expand the definition of racial profiling to include age, gender, sexual orientation and immigrant status.
At the center of the controversy is the city’s stop and frisk policy. About 5 million people have been stopped by the NYPD in the past decade, most of them black and Hispanic men.
Supporters hailed the legislation, saying it would make the NYPD more accountable. Critics have said the bills would encroach on police techniques that have decreased crime and would hamper police.
Councilman Jumaane Williams said the mayor’s comments shows he doesn’t understand the difference between using stop and frisk effectively and profiling someone.
“I do think it’s ridiculous,” he told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks. “Every single day, they’re saying more and more absurd things and I’m flabbergasted by it.”
Councilwoman Letitia James called on Bloomberg “to cease and desist from race baiting and fear mongering.”
“These two bills will not handicap the police, will not prevent them from doing their jobs if it is done correctly and consistent with the law,” she said. “And the mayor should take a class in Constitutional law. Period.”
Councilman Brad Lander told The Wall Street Journal that the mayor’s remarks were “the height of arrogance.”
“After powerful testimony from so many African-American and Latino City Council members about the realities and indignities of discriminatory policing, it is the height of arrogance for the mayor to keep arguing that the real problem is that the NYPD is over-stopping white people,” Lander told the Journal.
Both bills passed Thursday with enough votes to override mayoral vetoes.
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