Candidates React to Stop-and-Frisk Ruling
Monday, August 12, 2013
Candidates for public office in New York are reacting to the federal court ruling on stop and frisk. Read what they have to say below.
Sal Albanese: (Democratic candidate for mayor)
"Today, the courts upheld what any reasonable New Yorker has known since day one: Stop and frisk is a legal police tool that keeps our city safe when it is used properly.
There was never any doubt that the city was casting too wide of a net and focusing on quantity rather than quality when numbers peaked in 2011. Since then, the NYPD has moved in the right direction by training officers better and reducing unnecessary stops. This ruling will accelerate that process."
John Catsimatidis: (Republican candidate for mayor)
"I am disappointed by the U.S. District Court's ruling on Stop and Frisk. Stop and Frisk is an example of proactive police work that stops crime and keeps guns off the streets; dropping crime rates have proven that. I am sure this decision will be appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, as it should be. Stop and Frisk has been used by law enforcement in New York State since 1964. In 1968 the United States Supreme Court (Terry vs. Ohio) upheld its legality by an 8-1 margin and I am sure the courts will uphold it once again.
"The New York City Police Department is the best in the world, their innovative crime fighting tactics are a model for law enforcement worldwide. Today's decision should not be viewed as an indictment of their tactics. Their job is to keep New Yorkers safe and I firmly believe Stop and Frisk has done just that."
Bill De Blasio (Democratic candidate for mayor; currently NYC Public Advocate)
"The courts have just affirmed facts that too many New Yorkers know to be true: under the Bloomberg Administration, with the acquiescence of Speaker Quinn, millions of innocent New Yorkers — overwhelmingly young men of color — have been illegally stopped. The overuse and misuse of stop-and-frisk hasn't made New York a safer city, it has only served to drive police and community further apart. The only way to end the abuse of stop-and-frisk in New York City is with real reform, and I am the only candidate committed to enacting the changes we urgently need. We must override Mayor Bloomberg’s vetoes of legislation to ban racial profiling and to create an independent inspector general for the NYPD."
Joe Lhota (Republican candidate for mayor)
“Our Constitution is a living document and I disagree with some of Judge Scheindlin’s conclusions regarding the use of Stop, Question and Frisk and the Fourth Amendment. I urge the mayor to appeal the decision to delay implementation of a federal monitor. The NYPD is one of the most closely scrutinized law enforcement agencies in the country with oversight from New York City’s five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys, the New York State Attorney General and the City Council. The last thing we need is another layer of outside bureaucracy dictating our policing.
“Stop, Question and Frisk has been an invaluable tool keeping our city safe and saving lives. Our progress in reducing crime is fragile--this weekend the city had 17 shootings in a single day. Implementing a federal monitor will have a dramatic impact on proactive police work that we simply cannot allow to happen for the safety of all New Yorkers.”
John Liu: (Democratic candidate for mayor; currently NYC Comptroller)
“Today’s ruling by Judge Scheindlin declaring that police have overstepped their authority highlights the enormous flaws in the NYPD’s ‘stop and frisk’ tactic, which has served to undermine trust between communities and law enforcement. The judge’s call for reforms must be heeded, and – longer term – the tactic should be abolished. It’s time to put an end to stop and frisk once and for all.”
George McDonald (Republican candidate for mayor)
"One misguided liberal judge is endangering the safety of all New Yorkers. Appeal, Appeal, Appeal!"
Christine Quinn: (Democratic candidate for mayor; currently NY City Council Speaker)
"Today’s court ruling affirms what we have known for some time, too many young men of color are being stopped in the streets of New York in an unconstitutional manner and that must stop. At the height of this program, some 700,000 New Yorkers have been stopped with the overwhelming number resulting in no arrest or seizing of contraband, that’s why the City needs —and I passed —and Inspector General for the NYPD. The NYPD Inspector General will help review and provide guidance to ensure that stop and frisk is done in a constitutionally sound manner that focuses on the quality of the stops, not the quantity. And as mayor, I intend to work with the federal monitor to help ensure these stops come down dramatically so that we can build stronger relationships between our communities of color and our police force.”
Bill Thompson: (Democratic candidate for mayor)
"As I have said, the present stop and frisk policy violates the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers, but especially innocent blacks and Latinos. Instead of treating our police and people with respect, the Mayor and Commissioner Kelly have imposed what are effectively quotas on the police and treated entire minority communities with suspicion.
"I want to thank the men and women who came forward to testify to ensure everyone's constitutional rights are preserved. I want them - and all New Yorkers - to know that I will protect our streets and protect the rights of our people. I will uphold the law and work with the Federal monitor to make sure New Yorkers never have to choose between their constitutional rights and their safety. I will ensure the court's decision fulfills its objective - a New York where everyone is protected by the law."
Anthony Weiner: (Democratic candidate for mayor)
"This decision sadly confirms what was profoundly obvious. When the police stop tens of thousands of citizens who have done nothing wrong - the overwhelming number being young men of color - basic civil rights are being violated. The policy of using stop and frisk as a deterrent rather than a tool for the pursuit of actual criminals has to change. I would hope that the court considers withholding judgment on the need for a federal monitor until after a new mayor and police commissioner are in place in January.
Last week, I laid out a plan for correcting the abuses of stop and frisk. We must include invalid stops in regular CompStat reports. We should outfit police officers with lapel cameras to record interactions. And we should adopt a policy of focused deterrence that works to target known criminals rather than whole communities.
This is a teachable moment for our city. We must relearn the most basic of edicts of American life. We do not need to sacrifice our civil rights to live in a safe city. You can reduce crime while increasing respect."
Ruben Diaz Jr.: (running for re-election, Bronx Borough President)
“Today’s ruling, which subject’s the NYPD’s practice of ‘stop & frisk’ to the scrutiny of a court-appointed monitor, is a welcome step in the right direction towards meaningful reform of this important, yet often abused, police tactic. ‘Stop & frisk’ can be an effective tool in reducing crime, but not in its current form—which more often than not violates the Constitutional rights of those stopped, which is overwhelmingly young men of color.
“The opinion makes it clear that significant improvements need to be made in officer training and supervision. This is an important opportunity for growth and improvement in how policing is done. Many other cities and municipalities look toward the NYPD as the model to emulate. We as a City can no longer defend these policies."
Eliot Spitzer (Democratic candidate for NYC Comptroller)
"Today's decision rightfully recognizes that stop-and-frisk policies as implemented in New York have violated the constitutional rights of thousands of young men of color. The fact that there is a federal monitor, however, is not enough to solve the problem. The key now is what corrective measures the federal monitor recommends taking.
“Since investigating the issue as Attorney General in 1999, I’ve consistently said that only improved training of officers will lead to the proper balance needed to aggressively pursue street crime while simultaneously protecting civil rights. As Comptroller, I look forward to working with a new administration, the federal monitor and the NYPD to ensure resources are available for better training."
Scott Stringer: (Democratic candidate for NYC comptroller; currently Manhattan Borough President)
"U.S. Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling this morning on the New York Police Department’s Stop and Frisk program confirmed what many New Yorkers already know: the practice as applied by the NYPD is unconstitutional.
It is time to end the racial profiling of innocent people in our City that has tragically built a wall between our police department and communities of color. The judge’s appointment of an independent monitor of Stop and Frisk policies and practices is an important step and I urge Mayor Bloomberg to cooperate fully with the spirit and the letter of her decision, including the immediate reforms directed by the ruling."
For more on the candidates' reactions, listen to WNYC's Jessica Gould's report by clicking the audio above.