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Top Dem Mayoral Candidates Vow to Drop Any Appeal of Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

By Colby Hamilton | August 12, 2013 12:46pm | Updated on August 12, 2013 3:04pm
 Democrats running in the 2013 mayor's race debated at Hunter College, 695 Park Ave. at East 68th Street, on June 20, 2013.
Democrats running in the 2013 mayor's race debated at Hunter College, 695 Park Ave. at East 68th Street, on June 20, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Victoria Bekiempis

NEW YORK CITY — The city's top Democratic mayoral candidates rushed Monday to align themselves with a judge's ruling that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics are unconstitutional, promising not to appeal the decision if they are elected.

“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,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement.

She vowed, if elected mayor, to work with the court-appointed monitor to implement changes, promising to use the new police inspector general position proposed by the council to “review and provide guidance to ensure that stop and frisk is done in a constitutionally sound manner.”

She added that any appeal lodged by the city before the November election would be dropped by her if she won.

But Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blamed Quinn, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for allowing the police practices, described in Monday's ruling as unconstitutional, to take root in the first place.

“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,” de Blasio said in a statement. He urged the mayor's office not to appeal the ruling and said, if elected, he would not appeal.

De Blasio called for not only the inspector general position to be created, but for the veto of a bill banning racial bias by the police department to be overridden by the council.

In a statement on the decision, former comptroller Bill Thompson steered clear of the council’s police oversight bills, promising only to “ensure the court’s decision fulfills its objective.”

“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,” Thompson said.

Former congressman Anthony Weiner called on the court to hold off on implementing a federal monitor of the NYPD until after a new mayor is sworn in next year. He said he already intended to implement a number of recommendations identified by Judge Shira Scheindlin were he to be elected.

“The policy of using stop-and-frisk as a deterrent rather than a tool for the pursuit of actual criminals has to change,” Weiner said in a statement.

In a statement sent out from the comptroller’s office, John Liu called on the city to implement the court’s reforms in the short term but for the police tactic to be abolished eventually.

“It’s time to put an end to stop-and-frisk once and for all,” he said, adding that he would drop any appeal filed by the Bloomberg administration.

Former councilman Sal Albanese, who has taken a more conservative approach to the issue than his Democratic opponents, accepted the court’s decision, but castigated his opponents for being “unwilling to express even a modicum of support for our officers.”

“Despite appointing a federal monitor, Judge Scheindlin didn't embrace the reckless proposals of my opponents,” he said in a statement.

The Republican mayoral candidates, former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, Doe Fund founder George McDonald and grocery store magnate John Catsimatidis, blasted the judge's decision on Monday.

"One misguided liberal judge is endangering the safety of all New Yorkers,” McDonald wrote in a statement. “Appeal, Appeal, Appeal!"

Catsimatidis wrote in a statement that he was "disappointed" in the court's decision.

"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," he said.

Lhota urged the city to appeal the ruling and said a new federal monitor could endanger New Yorkers.

“Stop, Question and Frisk has been an invaluable tool keeping our city safe and saving lives," Lhota said in a statement. "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.”