NEW YORK—Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk searches on Sunday morning, speaking at a church in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
The impromptu searches have become increasingly divisive, with a contingent of state and city elected officials and organizations recently traveling to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness. They met with U.S. Department of Justice officials about opening an investigation into potential racial discrimination.
In his speech on Sunday, the mayor said that although the city’s murder rate this year could be the lowest ever, based on current statistics, 10 people still lost their lives in the first week of June. And all 10 were black or Hispanic young men.
“In all likelihood, sadly, there will be more murders this coming week and most of them will be black or Hispanic,” the mayor said, according to a transcript. “But I do not accept the idea that black and Hispanic communities will inevitably suffer higher rates of violence than other parts of the city.”
Later in his speech, the mayor said that the city will not tolerate racial profiling and pointed to a September 2011 internal order from NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly prohibiting racial profiling.
Police make more stops in Brownsville and East New York “not because of race; it is because of crime,” the mayor said, adding that steps have been taken by the NYPD, including new training and audits of stop-and-frisk data by the executive officer of each precinct to improve how the searches are conducted.
The searches are making a difference, he emphasized, listing weapons produced last year including 780 guns.
“By making it ‘too hot to carry,’ the NYPD is preventing guns from being carried on our streets,” the mayor said. “That’s our goal: preventing violence before it occurs, not responding to victims after the fact.”
Later, the church’s pastor, Bishop A.D. Lyons told Reuters, “We have a lot of police who don’t want to be in Brownsville, and they have an attitude when they come into Brownsville and you’ve got to deal with that.
“They walk by you, and they won’t speak, and they have an attitude,” he added. “I’ve been trying to get them to come into the sanctuary and just show up, show that we’re friends.”
The reform detailed by the mayor on Sunday and the NYPD in September, and again in May in a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, has not pleased opponents of the way stop-and-frisk searches are currently used.
A judge in May approved a stop-and-frisk class action lawsuit that accuses the NYPD of racially profiling those who are stopped. The class action status allows all persons who believe they were unlawfully stopped and frisked since January 2005 to be plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Several other lawsuits have been filed as well.
The New York Civil Liberties Union, one of the opponents of the current use of stop and frisk, has a Father’s Day march planned against the policy next Sunday.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.