Bloomberg: Judge In Stop & Frisk Case Knows ‘Absolutely Zero’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a federal judge who imposed reforms on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk strategy knows “absolutely zero” about police work.
Speaking Friday on his weekly radio show, Bloomberg blasted U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who earlier this week ruled the tactic was unconstitutional.
“What does she know about policing? Absolutely zero,” Bloomberg said. “Your safety and the safety of your kids is now in the hands of some woman who does not have the expertise to do it.”
Bloomberg and other officials have credited the policy in part for a pronounced drop in the homicide rate. The city averages one homicide a day currently, compared with six in 1990.
“We think the judge could not be more wrong. The Supreme Court has ruled, we follow the rules,” he said. “This would be a disaster for the city.”
City officials filed a notice of appeal Friday against the ruling in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
“We have moved ahead with our formal filings. The mayor, the police commissioner and the city vowed to press forward immediately with an appeal — and we have done so. The safety of all New Yorkers is at stake,” stated Michael A. Cardozo, of the New York City Law Department.
Lawyers have about three months to file the formal brief.
“It’s not the judge’s job to go and to run these city agencies,” Bloomberg said. “Some judges think they can get in and run the city — it cannot end well.”
In the decision issued Monday, Scheindlin said the NYPD was making the street stops based on race. She did not order an end to the practice, but instead appointed an independent monitor to oversee changes to the policy.
“The purpose of the remedies addressed in this opinion is to ensure that the practice is carried out in a manner that protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much-needed police protection,” Scheindlin wrote.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also slammed the judge’s ruling.
“What I find most disturbing and offensive about this decision is the notion that the NYPD engages in racial profiling. That is simply recklessly untrue. We do not engage in racial profiling. It is prohibited by law. It is prohibited by our own regulations,” Kelly said.
Scheindlin said that the stop-and-frisk policy amounts to “indirect racial profiling,” in which “minorities are indeed treated differently than whites,” and, “officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner.”
“Far too many people in New York City have been deprived of this basic freedom far too often,” she said. “The NYPD’s practice of making stops that lack individualized reasonable suspicion has been so pervasive and persistent as to become not only a part of the NYPD’s standard operating procedure, but a fact of daily life in some New York City neighborhoods.”
A spokesman for Judge Sheindlin said she would have no comment on the mayor’s attacks, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported.
The mayor also took aim Friday at the Democratic mayoral candidates who oppose stop-and-frisk and support the independent monitor.
“Think about it – they want to be mayor, but they want to have outsiders come in and tell them what to do,” Bloomberg said. “To try to walk away from it away from responsibility so they’ll be someone else to blame is just an outrage.”
Bloomberg said residents living in public housing should be especially concerned if the practice is halted.
“If you live in NYCHA housing you should be really worried about this judge because if we stop these vertical patrols, crime can get totally out of hand,” he said.
The mayor also suggested that people who are entering public housing should be fingerprinted as a crime-prevention measure.
“What we really should have is finger printing to get in since there’s an allegation that some of the apartments aren’t occupied by the people who originally have the lease,” he said.
Darius Charney, who filed the suit challenging the constitutionality of the stop-and-frisk program on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights, was disturbed by the mayor’s attacks and his decision to appeal.
“We’re very disappointed. This fight has been going on for more than a decade and there’s been so much outcry from many communities in the city,” Charney told Kramer. “So we’re very disappointed that he has to continue to be part of the problem rather than the solution.”
Bloomberg’s comments also sparked outrage from some Democratic mayoral candidates.
Ex-city comptroller Bill Thompson compared it to stop-and-frisk, calling it “another direct act of treating minorities like criminals.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said the comments were “outrageous and insulting.”
The class action civil suit against stop-and-frisk was brought by defendants who claimed their civil rights were violated by the tactic.
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