PBA Head Coached Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley on Stop-and-Frisk

By Jill Colvin on May 18, 2012 5:14pm 

Queens Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, speaks at a press conference outside Engine 4 at the South Street Seaport Wednesday as downtown Councilwoman Margaret Chin (at right, in foreground) looks on.
Queens Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, speaks at a press conference outside Engine 4 at the South Street Seaport Wednesday as downtown Councilwoman Margaret Chin (at right, in foreground) looks on.
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William Alatriste

NEW YORK — A confused-looking Queens Congressional candidate got some personal coaching from the head of the police union, Pat Lynch, Friday morning about the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy — with Lynch whispering advice to her during a press conference that was caught on camera.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who chairs the council’s Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, was holding a press conference Thursday at police headquarters in lower Manhattan in which she received the PBA’s official endorsement for her race for the 6th Congressional district when a reporter asked her whether she supports the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

“The least we could do is have some gratitude and be grateful for the work that they do,” Crowley answered, ducking the question about the controversial policy, which has come under fire by many council members and civil liberties activists.

Pressed again to clarify whether or not she supports the policy, Crowley froze while Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch whispered into her ear.

“Support it as a tool,” Lynch said, according to footage of the exchange captured by NY1's camera and mic.

A flustered Crowley then asked the reporter to state her question again.

“I believe our police officers stop when they suspect that there is somebody out there that is up to, you know, no good, so to say,” she said.

The PBA backed the councilwoman in a tough three-candidate race against popular Queens Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Assemblyman Rory Lancman in the bid to take over 15-term Rep. Gary Ackerman's seat after he retires.

Crowley spokesman Eric Yun did not respond directly to questions about the exchange, but said the councilwoman “has always supported the thoughtful use of stop-and-frisk to fight crime.”

“She believes the rising use of stop-and-frisk is an unfortunate consequence of understaffing at the NYPD.  With more cops on the beat, we could reduce the use of stop-and-frisk,” he said.

Both campaigns also declined to comment on the incident.

A spokesman for the PBA did not respond to requests for comment.

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