By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn District Attorney candidate Ken Thompson charged that Michael Bloomberg is dead wrong on the issue of stop and frisk and said the mayor should stop police from employing the controversial procedure.
Thompson, 46, a former federal prosecutor hoping to unseat Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes in the Democratic Party primary in September, accused the mayor of “stubbornly defending stop and frisk abuses” committed by cops on the streets of the city.
The policy, in which cops stop and search individuals they deem suspicious, is unfairly pitting communities against law enforcement, according to Thompson.
Statistics released by the New York Police Department in 2012 showed that the vast majority of those who undergo the stop and frisk procedure are minority members, Forbes reported.
“As the father of a young son growing up in this city, the abuse and misuse of stop and frisk is not just an academic exercise to me, but something that is all too real. It's time for new leadership to reform these practices for the sake of all our children, and make our streets both safer and stronger," said Thompson, a Clinton Hill resident.
Thompson was reacting to a speech Bloomberg delivered to NYPD brass at One Police Plaza on April 30 in which the mayor vigorously defended the stop and frisk policy.
Bloomberg charged that the NYPD has come under attack. “And yet even with that incredible record in reducing crime, saving lives, and making neighborhoods far safer – while at the same time reducing incarceration, and reducing police shootings – it’s hard to believe, but the NYPD is under attack, probably because this is an election year,” he said, alluding to the race for mayor.
“The attacks most often come from those who play no constructive role in keeping our city safe, but rather view their jobs as pointing fingers from the steps of City Hall. Some of them scream that they know better than you how to run the department. Some have even sued the NYPD and demanded a federal monitor over NYPD operations. They’ve also drafted politically driven legislation that is a reaction to two NYPD practices: stop-question-frisk, and counterterrorism intelligence gathering. In both cases, opponents argue that the NYPD is targeting people because of their race or ethnicity. In both cases, they could not be more wrong,” the mayor said.
Stop and frisk is currently being litigated in a lawsuit brought by opponents of the procedure against the city in federal court.
“As the ongoing federal court case is now demonstrating for any objective observer to see, the NYPD conducts stops based on seeing something suspicious, or witnesses’ descriptions of suspects, not on any preconceived notions, or on demographic data that would have you stopping old women as often as you stop young men,” Bloomberg said.
As a federal prosecutor, Thompson prosecuted Justin Volpe, the police officer who tortured Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997. He is now a lawyer in private practice.