Mayor Bloomberg Vetoes Veto-Proof Stop And Frisk Bills Because He's Mayor Bloomberg

from the pointless-flexing-of-rapidly-atrophying-political-muscle dept

NY mayor Michael Bloomberg is on his way out, Police Chief Ray Kelly is on the defensive, and stop and frisk is on the ropes, having recently been declared unconstitutional. Kelly and Bloomberg were both very upset by the decision, with Bloomberg himself promising the streets would run red with the blood of slain New Yorkers if the NYPD was unable to routinely violate the Fourth Amendment.

So, there’s one major blow to Bloomberg and Kelly’s minority harassment stop and frisk program. Of course, that decision is being appealed, which will stave off any return to normal, non-constitution-violating policework for the time being. In the meantime, the NYPD has a more pressing problem.

Two bills recently passed by the New York City Council target stop and frisk as well, by scaling back police powers and installing an Inspector General to ensure the NYPD doesn’t violate the public’s rights. Bloomberg, of course, threatened to veto these bills and then boldly went ahead and did exactly that, briefly pausing to tell council members that he’d be throwing tons of campaign dollars at anyone who wanted to switch sides. The only problem with Bloomberg’s plan was that both bills arrived on his desk with enough “yea” votes to be veto-immune.

Now Bloomberg’s angry all over again, assuming he stopped being angry at any point during the last couple of weeks. The council pointed out that stop and frisk unfairly targeted minorities, which it does. 88% of those stopped over the past 10 years have been minorities. Here’s a map of last year’s 532,911 stop-and-frisks color-coded by race and geolocated by Damien Spleeters. (Guess which race is represented by the color blue. If you can’t figure it out, click through to this post from the Village Voice for the answer key. Complicating matters is the fact that red represents whites and orange represents Hispanics.)

The data and the district court have come to the same conclusion: stop and frisk unconstitutionally targets minorities. And yet, Bloomberg’s statement on the targeted program echoes Chief Kelly’s bizarre defense of stop and frisk from a week ago:

Mr. Bloomberg disagreed, claiming “minority communities across our city” would suffer, the Post reported.

“The City Council adopted legislation that will make it harder for our police officers to protect New Yorkers and continue to drive down crime,” he said.

Just how will the minorities “suffer” from this lack of harassment? Too much freedom of movement? Hands going soft and uncalloused from the lack of contact with nearby surfaces? The disruption of day-to-day routine? Future minority youths being constantly annoyed by their parents’ stories about how back in THEIR day, the walk to school was up against the wall BOTH WAYS?

As for “continuing” to drive down crime? Well, while New York’s violent crime rate has declined significantly since highs in the late 80s-early 90s, the murder rate — a statistic both Bloomberg and Kelly have promised will skyrocket if stop and frisk is curtailed — has remained relatively flat over the last decade. If this program is so successful in getting guns off the street and curtailing violent crime, one would expect steadier trend downward. At best, the program is maintaining the status quo. Murder rates in New York are still above the national average (per 100,000 persons), along with robberies and assaults. Property crime has decreased dramatically but you wouldn’t know it from Bloomberg’s go-to defense of the program. According to Bloomberg, killing off stop and frisk will kill off thousands of New Yorkers, and whoever takes his position next year will be the new mayor of Murderville, USA, a position currently held by Rahm Emanuel.

One final point: Bloomberg and Kelly are both surveillance fanatics who harbor the desire to turn New York City into London in terms of number of cameras per square foot. Surveillance proponents like these two often make light of the public’s concerns, offering up the much abused phrase, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

When it comes to appointing an Inspector General to do a bit of internal surveillance on the NYPD, both the mayor and police chief are vehemently against it. Why? Public servants surely have no “expectation of privacy,” especially if the surveilled public doesn’t. And certainly the mayor’s faultless personal army has nothing to fear from some additional oversight… at least not if it doesn’t have anything to hide.

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Comments on “Mayor Bloomberg Vetoes Veto-Proof Stop And Frisk Bills Because He's Mayor Bloomberg”

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blaktron (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you think that black on black crime is a function of race, and not a function of geography then you are a racist. When you ghettoize a community, you ensure that they will be the victims of all crime that they commit.

Poor black people live nearby other poor black people, and when they get desperate enough to commit a crime, they commit it close by. This is the same reason most crime in mainland China is Chinese-on-Chinese crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The main victims of black crime are black people themselves”

Not sure what the point is, but it appears to be an attempt to justify racial profiling, and you are right – it should not be forgotten because it is an egregious affront to human rights. The blatant and illegal violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights needs to stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

what i find most interesting, is how the actual data from the stop-and-fuck-wit’em program showed there WAS NO THERE, THERE…

first, a miniscule amount of people were found to be carrying either drugs or weapons, PERIOD… (which the logical takeaway would be that it wasn’t a worthwhile program, but, whatever)…

AND it was about twice as likely if you were a cracker that you had drugs/weapons…

OBVIOUSLY, we need to stop harassing the law-abiding black/brown folks, and go after the real scumbags: white people ! ! !

oh, and as i mentioned previously,
A. IF this program was operable on wall street, it wouldn’t last a week before the squeals of the little masters of the universe made them stop…
B. i bet you would find a relatively HUGE number of paler, richer, masters of the universe were carrying drugs and/or weapons…
i would bet dollars to donut holes…

(setting aside the fact that our wall street ‘superiors’ have caused INFINITELY more harm to society than some poor schmuck carrying a dime bag…)

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

Anonymous Coward says:

i wonder if there is any significance in the number of ‘stop and frisk’ searches done last year? it seems strange that he managed to get the number stopped at exactly 532,911, with 911 being to optimum number!

when these two leave their positions, perhaps, being as keen as they are to maintain surveillance of everyone, jobs in the NSA may be worth considering?

Anonymous Coward says:

“Unfairly targeted minorities”

53.7% of murders in NY are committed by blacks. 34.8% are committed by Hispanics. That’s 88.5%. So explain how it is unfair that 88% of the stops are minorities?

Don’t agree with the stops but to throw out words that lead us to believe they are being racist is bull.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The stop and frisk program doesn’t stop and frisk criminals, mainly because it skirts around probable cause and reasonable suspicion.

Nearly everyone stopped by the program walked away without a summons or citation or arrest. That makes it unfair to everyone. What makes its targeting unfair is that 88% of those stopped (a large majority of whom weren’t charged, detained or issued a summons) were minorities.

Adding up the murders by race and discovering that it roughly equals the same percentage as the minorities stopped is taking two unrelated numbers, noticing they resemble each other and assuming that resemblance is also a correlation. It isn’t.

Because the city’s makeup isn’t 88% minorities, minorities are unfairly targeted.

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