NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Democrat Bill Thompson has ushered in a new phase in the hotly contested New York City mayor’s race after linking the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy to the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.
But is it an attempt to win support from black and Latino voters?
“There was a young black man who was targeted because of who he was and what he looked like and that’s where there are similarities,” Thompson said. “It is about suspicion and we need to get away from that.”
Thompson’s opponents say it’s a flip-flop, a change of position.
“Bill Thompson seems to want to have it both ways. He originally, I thought, was going to be in favor of the racial profiling ban, then he decided to oppose it. I think people, rightfully, want to know which side each of us is on,” said fellow Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio.
For the record, Thompson is opposed to the two stop-and-frisk-related bills recently passed by the City Council and vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn does not support the ban on racial profiling but is in favor of creating an inspector general to oversee the NYPD.
De Blasio supports both bills.
Thompson’s comments seem more in the realm of stepped up rhetoric to curry favor with black and Latino voters than a change of heart, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported.
He is the the only African-American in the mayor’s race but, according to the most recent poll, has the support of just 22 percent of that community.
“My position on stop-and-frisk has been the same and has not changed,” Thompson told Kramer. “My opponents, and in trying to make political hay on something that I felt heartfelt on my part, and an expression of that.”
The stop-and-frisk issue is not going to go away any time soon.
The City Council has a little more than three weeks to schedule a vote to attempt to override the mayor’s veto.
The mayor is working furiously behind the scenes to prevent the override.
No matter which side wins, the mayoral candidates will be asked to stake out a position and it could have a major effect on the race, Kramer reported.
NYPD UNION FIGHTING BACK AGAINST CITY COUNCIL OVERSIGHT MEASURE
As WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported, at what was billed as an emergency meeting of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, each delegate was given a bag of pens.
The pens read: “Community Safety Act: Presuming Cops Are Guilty Since 2013.”
The measure, which passed in the City Council in late June, along with a measure that would install an inspector general to oversee the NYPD, would allow those who feel they were racially profiled to sue the department and officers.
“It makes us the bad guy,” union president Ed Mullins said. “We’re going to commit a quarter of a million dollars to the City Council election, targeting two or three of the weakest candidates that are out there and we’re going to take their seats.”
Both measures passed with majorities large enough to override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, which he issued last week.
Mullins told the union members to prepare to be sued if the NYPD oversight measure takes effect.
“[The] City Council is labeling us as racist, we’re going to pick on midgets, dwarfs, people who live in housing projects,” said Mullins.
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