The New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” program has been mired in controversy since it began, and Michael Bloomberg just made things much more contentious. Now, a Brooklyn congressman is calling on the Department of Justice to step in.
In a Friday afternoon radio afternoon appearance, the New York mayor shrugged off critics of the program whom believe it unfairly targets minorities, asserting, “I think, we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they’re saying. I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course, or a logic course.”
Bloomberg justified his claims by explaining that while the program—which allows NYPD officers to stop and inspect anyone they deem likely enough to be a suspect in a felony—stops significantly more minorities than whites, minorities are also much more likely to have committed those crimes.
The mayor’s office released statistics that backed his claims soon after, revealing that 87 percent of those stopped through "stop and frisk" in 2012 were black or Hispanic, compared to nine percent of those who were white. Conversely, 90 percent of murder suspects identified were black or Hispanic, while only seven percent were white.
While the numbers—however slightly—do support Bloomberg’s claim, the mayor has been slammed by a slew of New York politicians just days after a district court ruled “stop and frisk” unconstitutional.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), insisted that Bloomberg’s comments were so egregious, a federal monitor from the Department of Justice is now needed to “reign in the NYPD”
Several mayoral candidates, including Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio, took shots at their potential predecessor. Thompson claimed, “The mayor’s comments seem to indicate that if you’re black or Latino, you’re automatically a murder suspect in the city of New York,” while de Blasio called Bloomberg’s comments “unacceptable,” “out of touch” and “insensitive.”
In defending his boss, Marc La Vorgna, the mayor’s press secretary, claimed, “[P]rofessional purveyors of outrage…are fabricating outrage over an absolutely accurate comment.”