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Bloomberg accuses newspaper and activists of racism for opposing stop and frisk

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 16:06 EDT
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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo: AFP.
 
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Speaking to gathered reporters on Tuesday morning, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) castigated the media and civil rights groups for not showing the same outrage over the recent killing of a black 17-year-old boy as they do over the vast racial inequality in the city’s arrest statistics.

Bloomberg’s speech was meant to push back against an anti-profiling bill backed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which the city council is set to consider. The NYCLU has been outspoken in favor of the bill and against the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy, and The New York Times recently joined them in editorializing against it.

Objecting to the mounting support for adjusting how the city conducts its police work, Bloomberg couched his counter-argument in the incorrect claim that the Times failed to cover the shooting death of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant on Monday, April 22. It turns out the Times did cover the shooting, in a regular column called “The Gun Report” published April 25.

Nevertheless, Bloomberg went on to compare his critics to the National Rifle Association, insinuating that the NYCLU and the Times do not really care if a young, black man is killed by gunfire in New York.

“I loathe that a 17-year-old can be senselessly murdered in The Bronx, and the media doesn’t cover it,” he said. “Do you think if a white 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan was murdered, the Times would have ignored it? I think not.”

“Make no mistake, this is a dangerous piece of legislation and anyone who supports it is courting disaster,” Bloomberg added. “If you end street stops looking for guns, there will be more guns on the streets, and more people will be killed. It’s that simple.”

“It’s a lot easier to trash the NYCLU than to acknowledge the widespread dissatisfaction the community feels with an NYPD that acts like it’s above the law and accountable to no one,” NYCLU director Donna Lieberman told Raw Story in an email. “Today, more than 1,400 New Yorkers will be stopped and frisked by NYPD officers.”

Officers who’ve testified in an ongoing class-action lawsuit over the city’s stop and frisk policy have said that supervisors ordered them to focus on young, black men, driven by a high pressure quota system that the police union actually agreed to.

The NYCLU sas that under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, stop and frisk has grown tremendously even as police have focused mostly on stopping blacks and Latinos. Despite making over 1,000 stops a day on average, the policy has not driven down the number of shootings that take place every year in New York City.

“This is not about an argument between the mayor and the NYCLU,” Lieberman added. “This is about the humiliation, frustration and disrespect felt by New Yorkers from communities of color every day as they are subject to the mayor’s stop-and-frisk regime. This is about the corrosive impact these unconstitutional practices have on the relationship between the police and the community they serve. This is about the need for policing practices that keep all of New York City’s communities safe while respecting the fundamental rights and liberties of every person, young and old, black and brown.”

The Times has not yet issued a response to the mayor.

This video was published Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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