Opponents of the New York Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” tactic report that an alarming number of Black and Hispanic males have been stopped. However, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says whites may be getting stopped too much.
The New York Daily News reported last Friday (June 28) on the statements Bloomberg made on his weekly radio show – which came a day after the City Council just passed two bills designed to lessen the reach of stop-and-frisk. The mayor made an observation in response to critics who say the NPYD has been unfair in their stops towards minorities.
“One newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying, ‘Oh, it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be. But it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murders,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor added, “In that case, incidentally, I think, we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little,” the mayor said. “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.”
The mayor’s office did not offer a follow-up statement, but critics and mayoral hopefuls seized the moment to put dents in Bloomberg’s armor. “His comments weren’t worthy of any elected official, much less the mayor of the city of New York,” said mayoral hopeful Democrat Bill Thompson. Mr. Thompson is the only Black candidate vying for the mayor’s office.
In support of Bloomberg’s on-air remarks, his office released 2012 statistics regarding stop-and-frisk. The data showed that 87% of the people questioned under stop-and-frisk in last year were black or Latino with only 9% of the questioned as white. In the same year, over 90% of those identified as murder suspects were blacks or Latino; just 7% were white.
UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg’s statement reached the ears of Rev. Al Sharpton, who demanded an apology over the weekend at a news conference in Harlem. Gothamist reported on the war of words and shared audio of Bloomberg commenting on Sharpton’s demands yesterday (June 30), dismissing them by saying the MSNBC host is nothing more than a television star concerned with his own brand.
Photo: City Of New York