New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) used the occasion of a toddler’s tragic murder Sunday night to once again blast a court ruling on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, in addition to congressional inaction to reform gun laws. During a press conference Monday night he said:
A misguided ruling from a federal judge and two bills passed by the City Council will make it harder for the NYPD to continue to reduce shootings and violent crimes, which primarily occur in minority communities, as we saw once again last night.
So the ideologues on the far right will continue to tell us our gun laws don’t need to be fixed. And the ideologues on the left will continue to tell us we need to handcuff the police officers who have been unfathomably successful in reducing violent crime.
For 20 years in this city, crime has come down. God help us if we stop doing what we have been doing. It is due to weak gun laws that the guns have come here–and permissive policing would turn around all the progress that we’ve made.
The constant flow of illegal guns into our city and into the hands of criminals happens for one reason and one reason alone. It’s caused by broken federal gun laws that Washington refuses to fix and broken gun laws in many states, which allow weapons to easily pass into the hands of criminals.
After Bloomberg was done speaking, he just “walked off” without taking any questions, according to Politicker.
What Bloomberg was referring to “last night” was the fatal shooting of 1-year-old Antiq Hennis, as his parents were crossing the street in Brownsville, Brooklyn. No suspects have been identified, only that police believe Hennis’ father may have been the target. But that didn’t stop Bloomberg from rushing to judgment.
While Bloomberg attempted to neutralize his comments by taking shots at both the left and the right, his anger toward the recent stop-and-frisk developments and failure to pass any gun legislature are markedly different. The recent federal court ruling found that the NYPD racially profiles to the extent that its stops are based on race as much as on reasonable suspicion. As a result of the NYPD’s overly aggressive and imprecise program that the court found intentionally targets young black and Latino men, the tactic only yields a weapon in 0.1 percent of cases. The most common arrest emerging from the tactic, meanwhile, is for marijuana, while almost all stops result in no arrest or citation at all. NYPD could address this by ending race-motivated stops, not by ending all stops.
The two reform measures passed by the City Council likewise would do nothing to curb those stops that are based on reasonable suspicion. They merely create an outside inspector general to monitor abuse of the program, and strengthen avenues for filing racial profiling lawsuits when police abuse the tactic. Police have had and retain the legal authority to perform the important function of stopping those individuals they have reason to believe are involved in criminal activity.
Congress’ inaction on a background checks bill, meanwhile, means that there simply are no background checks when some guns are purchased, and lax state gun laws mean that less rules exist for policing guns.
Differences notwithstanding, the recent blows to Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk program seem to be the reason for every recent failing and success. Last month, he credited the stop-and-frisk program for a historic NYPD gun bust, simply because one of the 19 defendants had expressed fear of being stopped and frisked. That did not stop this suspect from proceeding with his criminal activity elsewhere, and no stops or frisks appear to have conducted during the course of the sting.