NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — African-American mayoral candidate Bill Thompson supports the NYPD stop-and-frisk policy, but he called Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s remarks about how officers stop “whites too much” insulting and outrageous.
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Bloomberg made the comments on his radio show on Friday. He 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.”
Thompson, who has previously said stop-and-frisk has been abused by the Bloomberg administration, was infuriated by the mayor’s comments.
“To turn around after communities in the city of New York – black and Latino communities – that is the inappropriate use; the improper use; the misuse of stop-and-frisk that has caused so much pain and so many problems,” Thompson said Friday. “And then to turn around and say, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t stop more people’ – that’s the outrageous part.”
Thompson said Bloomberg’s comments were not worthy of any elected official, much less the mayor of the City of New York.
Thompson was not the only community leader who expressed outrage over the mayor’s comments.
“The tone set by that remark not only polarizes the city, it gives a false sense to police that they can step over the line,” Reverend Al Sharpton said.
Bloomberg’s 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.
The mayor has defended the policy and recently blasted his critics CBS 2’s Janell Burrell reported.
“There’s no question that what the city is doing right now is bringing down the murder rate,” Mayor Bloomberg said, “I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended the practice as well, calling it a necessary part of police work.
“These are lives that are being saved. If you look at the totality ‘Stop and Frisk’ is believe me, that’s one aspect of what we do,” the Commissioner said, “We now stand the risk of having these things overturned.”
Supporters hailed the legislation, saying it would make the NYPD more accountable. Critics – including Bloomberg – have said the bills would encroach on police techniques that have decreased crime and would hamper police.
Both bills passed Thursday with enough votes to override mayoral vetoes.
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