Bloomberg slams stop-and-frisk ruling

The mayor continues to defend the NYPD despite a federal judge finding practices discriminatory, unconstitutional


Natasha Lennard
August 12, 2013 11:20PM (UTC)

In response to Monday's landmark federal court ruling that found NYPD stop-and-frisk practices to be unconstitutional, discriminatory and in profound need of overhaul, Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to publicly defend the controversial tactic.

In a press conference, the longtime stop-and-frisk-defending mayor said, “Our police officers follow the law and follow the crime ... They fight crime where it is occurring. And they don’t worry if their work doesn’t match up to a census chart.”

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As NBC noted, "Bloomberg said the program had taken 8,000 guns and 80,000 other weapons off the streets in the past decade, and he noted that the New York City murder rate is half what it was when he took office in 2002."

But other statistics can be pulled up relating to stop-and-frisk that paint a richer yet more damning picture of the police practice. Take, for example, the fact that of the over 5 million stops carried out by the NYPD during Bloomberg's mayorship, 86 percent were on black or Latino individuals and 88 percent of the stops did not result in even an arrest or summons -- suggesting a strong tendency toward racial targeting with no probable cause for search.

Nonetheless, Bloomberg notoriously said earlier this year that the NYPD "disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little" based on murder rates, as opposed to addressing the patterns truly at the heart of stop-and-frisk, as became evident throughout the Floyd vs. City of New York trial: Namely a quota system for arrests and summons, which sees NYPD officers targeting young black and brown people in poor areas, stopping them without probably cause, fulfilling quotas with minor drug violations discovered during unconstitutional searches.

The judge presiding over the historic case, brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, took no prisoners in her lengthy ruling when it came to condemning city officials.

“The City’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner,” the judge wrote. “In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting ‘the right people’ is racially discriminatory and therefore violates the United States Constitution.”

Little wonder Bloomberg was on the defensive Monday afternoon.

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Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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