Annoyed NY Mayor Attacks Court Decision On Stop And Frisk With Condescension And Hyperbole

from the I,-for-one,-hope-the-door-hits-him-in-the-ass-SEVERAL-TIMES-on-his-way-out dept

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and Police Chief Ray Kelly held a press conference to register their dismay at the court decision declaring the city’s controversial “stop and frisk” program to be unconstitutional. As is to be expected, the decision will be challenged and, as is also to be expected, the Mayor and police chief wasted little time deploying their talking points in its defense. (Note on the embed: Video quality is terrible but this is only version of the entire press conference. Both the Mayor’s Youtube account and website contain only a 12-minute, heavily-edited video of the press conference, one that ONLY shows the prepared statements and removes all of the Mayor’s annoyed “interaction” with the press.)

Bloomberg’s statement went long on crime reduction statistics (something he says the presiding judge [Shira Scheindlin] ignored) claiming the 8,000 guns seized over the past decade have “saved countless lives of blacks and Hispanics.” He also claimed the stop and frisk program (or “stop, question and frisk,” as he and Kelly refer to it) has made New York City the “poster child everyone wants to follow.”

I have no doubt that there are many law enforcement agencies who view the stop and frisk program as desirable, but this says a lot more about law enforcement’s mindset than it does about the program itself. Law enforcement agencies tend to believe Americans have too many rights, as is evidenced by years of rights abuse. Any program that curtails rights and gives officers free rein to stop and frisk citizens would largely believed to be a “good thing.”

Kelly’s defense of the program wasn’t much different. His prepared remarks cited crime statistics and claimed the program was proactive in preventing criminal behavior, again stressing the 8,000 guns taken off the street over the past decade. Bizarrely, Kelly chose to illustrate the importance of the stop and frisk program by relating an anecdote having nothing to do with stop and frisk.

On Saturday a man threw a duffle bag into the trunk of a double-parked car in Washington Heights. When officers approached the man, he ran. That’s suspicious behavior. They found $750,000 worth of heroin in the trunk. They arrested the suspects and spared the untold misery that three-quarters of a million dollars worth of drug addiction can cause to families who can least afford it.

Yes, running from the cops is often suspicious behavior, but the problems with stop and frisk is that it’s deployed without any form of reasonable suspicion to back up the impromptu pat downs and searches. A big drug bust resulting from observed suspicious behavior isn’t nearly the same thing as grabbing a few random minorities and pressing them up against the nearest wall for no apparent reason.

While Kelly’s response was a bit more measured, Bloomberg made it clear that he wasn’t interested in implementing some of the recommendations the judge made in her decision — including additional oversight. Bloomberg (and Kelly) have been against third-party monitoring since day one, with the mayor notably arguing that his prized “army” would be less efficient with independent oversight because it introduces “confusion into the command structure.”

Bloomberg also cited Scott Greenfield’s First Rule of Policing* when criticizing the additional oversight, including the city council’s recent bill to appoint an Inspector General over the NYPD.

*Make it home for dinner.

So, now we’ll have another layer of monitors… You’re a police officer. You have to know what orders to follow. If somebody pulls a gun and you WANT TO GET HOME, you don’t have time to say, “Well, now wait a second, the commissioner said one thing, the monitor said another and the IG said another.” By that time, you’re dead.

In Bloomberg’s world, police are unnecessarily constrained by rules and regulations that prevent them from placing self-preservation above all other considerations. It should be noted that many unarmed citizens have been shot for precisely this Rule, like the recent shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer who reassured the homeowners’ whose yard he cut through in pursuit that the teen was not a threat. The teen continued to be “no threat” until the door of the shed he was hiding in flew open and the First Rule of Policing took over.

Bloomberg went on with his answer/diatribe, directing anger at the assembled press, implicating them in this rhetorical officer’s death.

And I’d like to see you go to the funeral and explain to the family why their son or husband or father is not coming home that night.

Bloomberg also addressed the court’s order that officers wear body cameras at all times. According to Bloomberg, the idea is unworkable. He vividly imagined the criticism that would fly once these were implemented.

A camera on the lapel or hat of a police officer… He didn’t turn the right way. My god, he DELIBERATELY did it. It’s a solution that’s not a solution…

There is no doubt always-on cameras can be abused by the officers wearing them. Many departments fight this sort of thing because it creates a layer of accountability, something few police departments welcome. If law enforcement agencies had worked harder over the years to maintain a solid reputation for trustworthiness and rooting out abusive officers from within their own ranks, they wouldn’t be in the position of having mandatory cameras deployed.

Bloomberg’s attitude throughout the press conference varied between confrontational and condescending — a nanny-statist annoyed that his subjects were restless.

A reporter, who questioned his statement that stop and frisk was only opposed by a “handful” of critics and activists by pointing out that he’d come across “hundreds, if not thousands” of critics, received this reply.

Some of these people come from a culture where police are the enemy. Here, police are friends.

What? The American culture has its fair share of people who believe police are the enemy, or at the very least have a long way to go to be considered “friends.” Bloomberg’s been in power so long he’s forgotten (if he ever knew) that an imbalance of power tends to make those with less much more distrustful of those with more. Cops have a lot of power and under Bloomberg this imbalance has only increased.

Bloomberg went even further with this train of thought, first insulting the public and continuing on to disparage the press (again.)

The public are not experts on policing… But if you want to find someone to put on your TV show that says they don’t like this, you can find them.

Bloomberg cut loose with more condescension when fielding a question from Russia Television International about the administration’s fervent defense of the unpopular (and unconstitutional program).

We, unlike many countries, want to keep all of our citizens safe, and keep the crime rate down and make sure that they get home and go to court and protect themselves — unlike other countries in the world.

And again, when asked if the appeals process would allow stop and frisk to continue until Bloomberg is out of office, his response this time was coupled with his usual scare tactics.

Boy, I hope so. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for a lot of people dying.

Yes. Every homicide investigation starts with the mayor being questioned about his involvement.

All in all, the mayor appeared to be completely irritated that his pet program had been questioned (and overruled) by a court decision. In contrast, Chief Kelly’s responses were handled much more gracefully. He didn’t address many questions (and those he did were swiftly taken over by Mayor Bombast Bloomberg) but those he did he handled well, without resorting to scare tactics, condescension or irritability.

For instance, his response to the appointment of independent oversight was simply to state that the appointee would find what he sees every day: good cops doing a good job. The rest he handled by stating the NYPD deploys a “wide variety” of tactics in areas of high crime or by deferring to the city’s legal representative.

It will be some time before the court-ordered changes appear, if they do at all. As stated above, the city will be challenging the ruling and Bloomberg is still hard at work attempting to veto the two bills aimed at stop and frisk that recently passed the city council.

New Yorkers can at least be happy Daddy Bloomberg is on his way out, although the crop of replacement candidates doesn’t seem all that promising. Americans, on the other hand, have to be concerned that the man who headed up the stop and frisk program could soon be heading the Department of Homeland Security, a position that will allow dubious tactics to be deployed at a national level.

In any event, it’s obvious the court’s decisions has pissed off Bloomberg and his “private army” and that can’t be a bad thing.

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Comments on “Annoyed NY Mayor Attacks Court Decision On Stop And Frisk With Condescension And Hyperbole”

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John Fenderson (profile) says:

Ethics 101

Bloomberg’s statement went long on crime reduction statistics (something he says the presiding judge [Shira Scheindlin] ignored)

And the judge was incredibly right to ignore it. Like with the defense of NSA spying (“but the program has stopped terrorist attacks!”) — that the technique may be effective is completely, totally, 100% irrelevant. What’s relevant is if the actions are Constitutional.

This is ethics 101: the ends (usually) don’t justify the means. I understand why power-hungry people like to ignore this, but we should remind everyone else of it. These sorts of defenses deserve nothing less than ridicule.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ethics 101

Exactly. As the judge said in the decision:

“I emphasize at the outset, as I have throughout the litigation, that this case is not about the effectiveness of stop and frisk in deterring or combating crime. This Court’s mandate is solely to judge the constitutionality of police behavior, not its effectiveness as a law enforcement tool. Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime — preventive detention or coerced confessions, for example — but because they are unconstitutional they cannot be used, no matter how effective.”

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Ethics 101

Actually it wasn’t anything that he did that reduced the crime rates. You see correlation does not equal causation. The most likely and probable factor for the reduction in crime was more than likely Roe -v- Wade. Which has cause a slow decrease in the crime statistics for the last 20+ years. No unwanted children, less likely they will be treated poorly and go on to commit crimes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ethics 101

” the reduction in crime was more than likely Roe -v- Wade”

Several studies say otherwise. They present data in support of the hypothesis that lead reduction, mainly in gasoline, has resulted in a significant reduction in crime – worldwide. The evidence is compelling, and not without its detractors. However, there has been scant rebuttal which stands up to scrutiny.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Ethics 101

  1. you KNOW that if it was masters of the universe on wall street getting stopped-n-frisked, that policy wouldn’t last a day… (i bet they would find a LOT Of illegal drugs, guns and money on those pukes…)
  2. as it is, the ONE thing i ‘like’ about the program, is how the ACTUAL STATISTICS bear out that it is a useless exercise, it is fraught with racisim/classism, and that white people are MORE LIKELY to have drugs/weapons on them… funny those factoids are ignored…
  3. officer donut is about 8-10 times more likely to kill a citizen than al qaeda; by that logic, shouldn’t kops be eliminated ? ? ?
  4. the OVERWHELMING majority of donut eaters do not have reason to pull their guns IN THEIR CAREERS… AND there are PLENTY more professions which have a much higher rate of on-the-job murders, including lowly retail clerks, cabbies (the worst), and firefighters…

    the kops aren’t the threatened ones, WE ARE…
    officer friendly my ass…

    again, the thin blue line does NOT protect us li’l peeps (except incidentally), it is to keep us rabble in line…

    that virtually NONE of them step up and call out their fellow pigs they KNOW are corrupt, tells me they are ALL CORRUPT… that principle applies to us li’l peeps, why not to them ? ? ?

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy

JJJoseph (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Oh, please! There’s more minorities murdered every day by other minorities, that the situation quickly improves as soon as stop-n-frisk begins. How many minority persons were murdered this last week in Chicago, for example? From the NY Times:”65 shootings across the city . . . sixteen people were killed . . .” It was minorities getting killed and minorities pulling the trigger.

Beech says:

“Boy, I hope so. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for a lot of people dying.”

What he MEANT to say is he doesn’t want to feel slightly responsible for even one cop to come even slightly close to becoming injured when they could have just gunned the “suspect” down from the get go…

i’d bet there are a lot more citizens killed by cops every year than t’other way ’round

Furthermore, wasn’t there a story on here before about something close to 90% of the people stopped and frisked being totally innocent of anything? And way more minorities are stopped than whites? you would think that that would enter into the discussion somewhere…

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you read some of Greenfield’s post on the subject, you’ll see why this rule a.) shouldn’t apply to law enforcement officers and b.) how often they use it to justify excessive force or unloading weapons into unarmed individuals.

When someone takes a dangerous job that they know going in contains the possibility of dying while performing their duties, they no longer have the luxury of placing their safety (or perception of their safety) above the safety of others.

Joining the military puts you at the same risk and yet you rarely hear “I needed to make it back alive” used as a justification for excessive force or violence.

Bloomberg is being VERY disingenuous by equating a cop having a gun pulled on him with performing a rights-violating search. And it’s true, when someone pulls a gun on a cop, he’s not going to try to remember all of the external guidance — he’s going to fall back on his training. If his actions result in the death of the person pulling the gun, odds are that, if he follows his training, he will be acquitted of any wrongdoing by every level of oversight.

This additional oversight will, however, make it harder for cops to trot out the First Rule of Policing as an excuse for unwarranted responses to perceived threats.

Even the rest of us civilians don’t use the First Rule as justification for our actions. It’s not a conscious response and instincts often trigger actions that remove others from danger, hence “women and children first,” etc.

The First Rule is a dodge that’s been deployed far too often. Cops are public servants. This means their safety is secondary to the safety of the public, even if the member of public is currently awaiting a pair of handcuffs.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

We aren’t talking about safety or policy or excuses. It’s about being survival instinct. Military don’t get usually get critized for not dying, they get critized for being sadistic assholes…

It’s not that anyone should get a free pass because they believe their life is in danger (which is what you seem to be worried about), they still should get punished according to law for breaking the rules.

The point is, if a police officer, millitary, or anyone believes their life is actually in imminent danger, they aren’t going to care about anyones rules. They aren’t going to think “hmm, am I allowed to not die here?” before they act to save their own life. If they choose to actually make the ultimate sacrifice, it’s not going to be because they didn’t want to break the rules.

Brandt (user link) says:

Profiting from Policing

?Stop and Frisk? is a breach of civil rights for anyone stopped, regardless of their race. The actions and abuse by the NYPD are filling the very definition of a ?Police State? where citizens are under never ending scrutiny in order for cops meet a quota designed to turn profits. You can read much more about our Justice System running amuck and how they?ve violated civil liberties across the country in the name of the almighty dollar at

DCX2 says:

If Stop and Frisk is so good, double down!

Stop and Frisk Saves Lives, right?

Well, why not just search every single home of a black or Hispanic family for illegal weapons? Surely some will be found. That would Save Lives, right?

By NOT searching every black or Hispanic home for illegal guns, Bloomberg is assuming responsibility for all those lives that will be lost.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Some of these people come from a culture where police are the enemy.”

Gee, do you think that maybe randomly stopping and frisking people for no good reason might have something to do with those people thinking police are the enemy?

If you don’t want to be perceived as the enemy, you could try to stop acting like the enemy…

Anonymous Coward says:

“They fight crime wherever crime is occurring, and they don?t worry if their work doesn?t match up to a census chart.”

Then why are you not on Wall St with the stop n frisk?

Ok, you claim stop and frisk is based upon the suspicion that a crime has been committed. And this is based solely upon shin color? – Oh boy. And then you state the policy is not racist.

Todd Knarr (profile) says:

“And I’d like to see you go to the funeral and explain to the family why their son or husband or father is not coming home that night.”

Mr. Bloomberg, a police officer’s job, along with that of fireman and many other public safety professions, is quite simply to go into the kinds of situations that can result in you not coming home, and moreover to go into them with the express intent of putting the lives of others ahead of your own. Anyone in those professions whose family has difficulty with this needs to have a long serious discussion about the topic with their family. Any police officer who has difficulty with this concept needs to seriously reconsider their chosen profession.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I actually like Stop and Frisk

That’s the deal with a lot of these egregious programs that people allegedly support. They’re all for it but they haven’t really thought through the ramifications of what they’re advocating. What they neglect to tell you is they don’t want it to affect them or their family and friends.

People with power seek more power and are resistant to any diminishing of that power once it has been obtained. And once power has been obtained, it will be abused.

Black Bellamy (profile) says:

There is one thing no one can argue about. The stop-and-frisk program definitely saved lives. There are people walking around right now because one of those guns was not available at the time. The opportunity passed or the circumstances changed and that person was never killed. Many of these people were decent citizens, productive, people just like you and me. If not for Bloomberg and Kelly, those people would be bones in the dirt.

Obviously as a society we make trade-offs all the time. Liberty is dangerous. People die needlessly when everyone is too free. The case law is full of restrictions on freedom, and the Constitution has been interpreted in various ways, mostly according to the will of the people. We hold the Bill of Rights in very high regard, but we redefine it constantly.

Many people, including myself, are terribly disappointed at Bloomberg and Kelly’s attempt to redefine the 4th Amendment. My greater disgust though is reserved at the fact that both these men are very smart guys, and they are surrounded by more smart guys, and they all huffed and puffed and they could not for the life of them come up with a method that would get guns off the street and satisfy just one Federal judge. Just a nod to affirmative action and a little less aggression and most everyone would be happy. But no.

The sheer obstinacy was astounding. They doubled down at every point they could. Even when the writing was on the wall, they blew every chance to sanitize their operation. Their press conference today displays the same arrogance. Hey, we’re too stupid and lazy to do it right and we don’t care. Fuck you.

I expect better and so do most people. There is a way to get guns off the streets and preserve the rights that we all cherish. We will never get all the guns off just like we will never remove all danger and threat in our world, and we need people in charge who realize this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Obviously as a society we make trade-offs all the time. Liberty is dangerous.”

Their whole “you must be guilty of something” policy would be less draconian if they spent equal time stopping and frisking wall street and the banksters, prosecuted white collar crime as enthusiastically as blue collar or no collar crime. But even by those more equitable standards the whole concept of “you’re guilty cause I say so” goes against basic principles and they should not act all offended when called on it. In fact they should expect no less.

artp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

From Wikipedia on “Gun laws in New York”

Of all the states that issue carry pistol licenses, New York State has arguably the strictest handgun licensing policies in the nation.[9] New York City, which is effectively a “no-issue” jurisdiction for carry pistol licenses,[10] has even stricter laws, including those regulating handguns exclusively kept at home, thereby making it difficult to virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain, possess, or carry firearms lawfully within New York City.[11] Permits have been issued, however, to a small number of celebrities, politicians, attorneys and other well-connected individuals.

Apparently, the criminals are not observing these gun laws. What now? Please do not reply “Extend these laws to the edge of the universe.”

Gun laws make no more sense than Prohibition did in the 30s. Anybody can make alcohol. And anybody can make a gun. It is impossible to prohibit weapons, even projectile weapons.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re:

“Obviously as a society we make trade-offs all the time. Liberty is dangerous. People die needlessly when everyone is too free. The case law is full of restrictions on freedom, and the Constitution has been interpreted in various ways, mostly according to the will of the people. We hold the Bill of Rights in very high regard, but we redefine it constantly.”

This is a total red herring. You claim that “people die needlessly when everyone is too free” yet fail to mention how many MORE people die when they’re NOT free and live under oppressive rule. We’re talking MILLIONS of people, murdered by their own government. History is most definitely not on your side.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The problem is scapegoating. It is far easier to blame guns for violent crime where guns are involved that it is to blame those who misuse guns to cause harm to society and address the issues that lead to the increase of their misuse. It also allows grandstanding politicians to tout ridiculous statistics about numbers confiscated guns as if that actually had anything to do with reducing the murder and robbery rates just like this. Furthermore, last I checked the language of the Second Amendment says that “the right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” Nowhere in there do I see any qualifier that says “unless a city or state government decides it’s ok.”

JJJoseph (profile) says:

Re: Re: Evidence

There’s evidence all over the place. Compare NY to Chicago, for example: From the NY Times, writing about the 1st week in July in Chicago: “65 shootings across the city . . . sixteen people were killed . . .” That’s about 3x the NY numbers. It’s evidence of something happening. Try comparing a few more cities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Evidence

You’re not a fan of scientific method I presume.

There is compelling evidence that the worldwide drop in crime rates is at least partly attributable to the removal of lead from gasoline. Multiple studies looking at multitudes of data from across the planet all come to the same conclusion – you should read them.

To flippantly state that crime rate reduction in one city is solely due to a pet draconian stop and frisk program is ignorant. To then compare that city to other cities without said program and claim it as proof is simply beyond reasonable.

You really should not be claiming others have small brains.

Rekrul says:

If Bloomberg and Kelly really want to convince people that the program isn’t a big deal, maybe they should volunteer to go through a “stop & frisk” once a day, every day, even on their days off. Just randomly stop them once a day, frisk them, demand to see their ID, etc.

Wonder how long they’d put up with that…

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: That's pretty messed up.

I’m sure they could put up with it a lot longer than most of the whiners here! They’d be encouraged just by knowing that it works.

Are you arguing, then, that the result represents the intention all along (mainly, adding more pot-smokers to the New York prison population and harassing a disproportionate number of racial minorities?


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I doubt that. There would be outrage and firings – not just paid vacations.

They feel entitled because they think they are special and deserve respect (even though they do not earn it). They would cry like babies if they were subjected to their stop and frisk program. It would certainly be a Youtube hit if one got that on video.

Enda Kennie says:

Stop and search and hassel

Desr Madam Blomberg,
Your stamping all over the American Constution just because you yourself and your facrless colegia’s think that every one is guilty until thet can prove otherwise,,,,,,,,What or who does Blomberg thik he is ,,,,,,WEll his day of ” Jugement” is coming to one and all the day they die they will enter the same black Hole as Bush’s Obama Chaney Romsfeild, and all of those who think like dogs?????/ Hands off our “FreedomNow” The Juge in this case has more Balls than any one Polition in America. we need to bring down the Bankers that hlod the key to our future Freedom or we will definitly turn into a totally Nazi State and thats what they want,,,,,,,,,,Put the fear into people and they will do what they are told,,,,,
Mr Womack

Anonymous Coward says:

Three Idiots
Who happen to have a lot of money end power in their hand are now setting out their own agenda on teh Ameriaan Constution and how it ahould work for them to have more and nore control over everone,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,If all are afraid then you get sheep and the Police will do everythng that they are told////////It’s big brother all over and day by gay it just gets worse and will continue intill they have everything they want,,, Ditactors are now in chatge and there is no such thing as Freedam in the world……….Go fuck them All and it’s their children who will reap what their Idiot Parents have started??????????????

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