CIVIC CENTER — Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday he's “very satisfied” with a federal appeals courts’ decision to halt a lower court’s ruling that the city’s use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional.
Bloomberg said the appeals court decision — which also ordered lower court Judge Shira Scheindlin to be removed from the case, claiming she violated judicial conduct by granting a pre-decision interview — is a good indication that the appeals court will rule in the city's favor when it makes a final decision.
“It says that basically Commissioner [Ray] Kelly can run the department the way he's been running it, with my approval and support,” Bloomberg said on WOR’s John Gambling show Friday.
“Convention is that [appeals courts] do not give an appeal unless there's a chance that appeal would be successful,” he added, noting that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision has been “unequivocal” in moving the appeal forward.
The ruling handed down Thursday halted the rollout of a number of remedies ordered by Scheindlin, most notably the imposition of a federal monitor on the police department. Bloomberg has bristled at the idea of a federal monitor.
“For the next 60 days we don't want an outsider coming in who doesn't know anything about crime fighting, putting the lives of our people and our police officers on the line,” Bloomberg told Gambling. The mayor’s third term ends at the end of this year.
Bloomberg also sounded pleased with the decision by the 2nd Circuit to remove Scheindlin from the suit, saying she had breached judicial codes of conduct.
Scheindlin had been in discussions with the groups considering suing the city over the controversial tactic in 2007, and encouraged them to file a new lawsuit, which she oversaw, the appeals court judges found.
“We thought that the judge was not giving us the opportunity to present our case and to explain what the police department does, who we decide who to stop, question and sometimes frisk,” Bloomberg said. “We didn't get a change to explain who is really saved here.”
Kelly, appearing with Bloomberg, added Scheindlin’s ruling was “largely for political purposes” and harmed the police force.
“I think it was grossly unfair as far as the department was concerned,” Kelly told Gambling.
Bloomberg said stop-and-frisk is necessary in order to not only stop existing law-breakers, but “to send a message to others: don't break the law.”
Bloomberg added that despite criticism that the tactic unfairly targets African-American and Hispanic New Yorkers, he plans to continue to focus stop-and-frisk on the primarily African-American and Hispanic communities where most crime occurs, not as a blanket policy over the whole city.
“You don't go and make stops based on what the general population is,” Bloomberg said.