Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the NYPD stops and frisks too many white persons and not enough persons of color.
Bloomberg’s weekly radio show appearances have become a headline-generating forum. The most recent controversial comments were in the context of the City Council passing two oversight bills that could rein in the aggressive stop-and-frisk policing policy. The mayor has vowed to veto both measures.
On previous weekly appearances on radio station WOR, Hizzoner told kids they should “speak grammar,” insisted that many high school grads would be better off becoming plumbers rather than going to college, and deemed medical marijuana a hoax.
With regard to the contentious stop-and-frisk policy that critics have slammed as racial profiling, Bloomberg — a strong gun control advocate — said in part that “Most crimes in our city — serious crimes — are committed by male minorities [ages] 15-25…”
To address this sociological issue, Bloomberg explained that he allocated millions of public- and private sector dollars into mentoring programs and the like.
Bloomberg’s support of stop and frisk is unwavering, however: “When it comes to policing, the police have to be able to go out and stop, look for, those that fit the description of a witness or a victim after a crime. And if you can’t do that, then you just turn over the streets to the criminals literally overnight.”
Added Bloomberg: “A cop’s job is to stop so many of groups fitting a description. It’s society’s job to make sure that no one group is disproportionately represented as potential perpetrators.”
The mayor sparked outrage in the city with the following comment: “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what [news media critics] say. I don’t know where they went to school but they certainly didn’t take a math course or a logic course.” His office later released statistics that purportedly buttressed his point of view.
The mayor also noted how the city’s policing policies have dramatically brought down the murder rate and that ending the stop-and-frisk tactic is too dangerous a social experiment.
Bloomberg was subsequently blasted across the board by candidates seeking to replace him, other politicians, and civil rights organizations.
“His comments weren’t worthy of any elected official, much less the mayor of the city of New York,” said mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, who also deemed the suggestion that blacks and Latinos were automatically murder suspects “incredibly insulting,” according to the New York Daily News. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio demanded an apology from Bloomberg. The New York Post reports that de Blasio declared that the mayor’s remarks were insensitive, out of touch, and hurtful to city residents.
Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent, leaves office in 2014 after serving three four-year terms (which included orchestrating a change in the term-limits law). Listen to the full context of Mayor Bloomberg’s comments above.