Bloomberg Unleashes Tirade Against Stop-and-Frisk Critics and NYC Media
ONE POLICE PLAZA — In a speech brimming with vitriol, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at all who have criticized the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, accusing them of encouraging lawless mayhem.
Bloomberg unleashed a 45-minute tirade in defense of the police tactic, accusing those who support legislation for an independent NYPD inspector general of playing politics, and panning the media for turning a blind eye to murders in minority communities.
"Make no mistake, this is a dangerous piece of legislation and anyone who supports it is courting disaster," Bloomberg said, addressing a crowd of dozens of uniformed police officers on the second floor of police headquarters Tuesday.
"If you end street stops looking for guns, there will be more guns on the streets, and more people will be killed. It’s that simple."
Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn — along with almost all the other candidates — has publicly supported some form of legislation to appoint an NYPD inspector general, a stance that Bloomberg argued was "putting ideology and election-year politics in front of public safety."
The mayor added that having an inspector general would disrupt "unity of command" and make officers unclear whose edicts to follow.
"Whose policies should an officer on the street follow and how would he or she know that their partner would be following the same procedures when the bullets start flying?" Bloomberg asked. "With confusion comes deadly consequences to our police officers and to the public that they are sworn to protect."
Some Council members, but not Quinn, have also advocated for legislation that would allow New Yorkers to sue the NYPD alleging racial profiling in stop-and-frisk. Bloomberg opposes that legislation as well.
"By making it easier to sue the department the bill would allow New York State judges to micromanage the NYPD. And you can bet that aggressive tort lawyers are licking their chops at the prospect of bringing more cases against the city that the tax payers can ill afford."
Bloomberg also took aim Tuesday at New York City's media, in particular The New York Times, for turning a blind eye to the victims of the city's gun violence, even as their editorial board criticized stop-and-frisk.
When Alphonza Bryant, 17, of The Bronx, was gunned down on a Longwood street April 22, many news outlets, including the Times, did not cover the murder, Bloomberg said.
"Four days after Alphonza Bryant's murder went unreported by the Times, the paper published another editorial attacking stop-question-and-frisk," Bloomberg said. "They called it 'a wildly loathed practice' even though a growing number of mothers and fathers who have had their children murdered with guns have been speaking out in support of stop-question-and-frisk.
"But let me tell you what I loathe. I loathe that 17-year-old minority children can be senselessly murdered in The Bronx and some of the media doesn't even consider it news.
"I loathe that parents have to bury their children and children have to bury their parents because there are too many guns on the streets. I loathe that police Detective Peter Figoski's four daughters will never see their father again.
"I loathe that the Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews were executed while trying to take guns off our streets. I loathe that illegal guns threaten our communities every day, especially black and Latino communities because politicians don't have the courage to stand up for measures that can save lives.
"Do you think if a white 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan was murdered, the Times would have ignored it? I think not."
Bloomberg added that other advocacy groups vehemently opposed to stop-and-frisk also didn't respond to the murder.
"I believe that the life of every 17-year-old and every child and every adult is precious," Bloomberg said. "But the fact of the matter is, when police stop and ask a 17-year-old a question based on a reasonable suspicion of a crime, there is outrage, yet when a 17-year-old is standing on the street corner near his home at 8:15 in the evening and gets shot and killed there is silence."
The Times responded by calling Bloomberg's criticism "absurd."
"Mayor Bloomberg is trying to deflect criticism of the city’s stop-and-frisk practice by accusing The New York Times of bias," Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha told Politico.com.
"Among those critical of the practice is The New York Times' editorial board, which is separate from the news side of the newspaper. The Times aggressively covers violence in the city's neighborhoods, and to select one murder as evidence to the contrary is disingenuous. His claim of racial bias is absurd," Ha added.
DNAinfo.com New York has previously reported that while the use of stop-and-frisk has skyrocketed under Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the number of people shot each year has remained roughly the same.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg also appeared to equate the NRA with the New York Civil Liberties Union, which has harshly criticized stop-and-frisk, calling them both "extremists."
"We don't need extremists on the left or the right running our police department, whether it's the NRA or the NYCLU," Bloomberg said.
The NYCLU tweeted a reply to Bloomberg, saying, "Dear Mayor Bloomberg, It's a lot easier to trash the NYCLU than it is to reform the NYPD's discriminatory practices, isn't it? Under your watch, there have been more than 5 million stop-and-frisks. Of those stopped, 4.3 million were black or Latino."
The NYPD said it had no updates on an arrest in Bryant's murder.