By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Democrats running for mayor are unfairly attacking Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in the wake of a federal judge’s decision about the constitutionality of the stop-and-frisk policy, Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota charged.
“I’m incredibly disappointed with my opponents in this race who continue to vilify Commissioner Kelly and the brave men and women of the NYPD rather than be honest with New Yorkers about how to keep our streets safe,” Lhota said in a statement.
In another blast at Democrats, Lhota said they’re criticizing stop-and-frisk while not offering any public safety policies of their own. “I have yet to hear a single answer from them about how they would effectively lower crime in the absence of proactive policing. Every New Yorker who is concerned about the direction of our city should take heed of their positions,” he said.
Several of the Democrats running for mayor have stated in debates that that they would not keep Kelly on as police commissioner.
Lhota spoke out after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Aug 16 that his administration had filed an appeal of Judge Shira Scheindlin’s decision. That same day, the New York Daily News reported that the mayor blasted the judge on his weekly radio show. “Think about this judge on stop-and-frisk,” the mayor told listeners. “What does she know about policing? Absolutely zero,” Bloomberg stated.
Lhota, the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chairman, served as a deputy mayor in the Giuliani Administration. He is locked in a battle for the Republican Party nomination for mayor against billionaire political novice John Catsimatidis and George McDonald, founder of the non-profit group the DOE Fund. All three men have publicly denounced Sheindlin’s decision on stop-and-frisk.
“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for doing the right thing to protect New Yorker’s safety by appealing Judge Scheindlin’s misguided decision on Stop, Question and Frisk,” Lhota said.
“The flawed case was decided on misguided logic and a narrow scope of unsubstantiated evidence, and rightly deserves attention from a higher court,” Lhota said.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Scheindlin ruled that while the stop-and-frisk policy in of itself was not unconstitutional, the manner in which the New York Police Department was carrying out the policy violated the civil rights of minorities who are stopped by police and frisked in disproportionately large numbers.
Scheindlin also ordered an independent monitor to come in and review the policy.
Lhota, who said the appeal will likely take months, added that if he is elected, he will pick up the ball from Bloomberg and see the appeal through. “As mayor, I will continue this appeal and ensure that our law enforcement has the tools necessary to keep all New Yorkers safe. In the meantime, I urge the courts to initiate a speedy process before we begin to feel the dangerous effects of a handcuffed police department,” he said.