Though considering that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu had very similar positions, it wasn’t a particularly contentious discussion.
When moderator Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 asked the Democratic hopefuls how they differed in their stance on stop and frisk–of which both are highly critical–Liu made one point very clear. “At least we’re here!” he said, after stressing the need to get rid of stop-and-frisk altogether.
“There’s a humanity to [community policing], a respect to each individual. That’s what we need to get back to again,” De Blasio said.
“[Police] were trained to fight crime. Not to stop a teenager walking by because of ‘furtive movements,'” De Blasio added. “I have two teenagers. They do furtive movements all the time!”
De Blasio is currently pushing for an independent inspector general to oversee the NYPD, in addition to a racial profiling bill. Liu does not see the need for an independent insepector general, as he sees the position as “a distraction.”
“The root cause is stop and frisk,” Liu said. “I am the only candidate, including all the people who showed up here today, who has clearly stated that stop and frisk doesn’t have to be amended, it has to be ended,” Liu said.
After De Blasio left the stage to catch another event, Liu added that, despite the fact he’s been referred to as an “embattled comptroller” as a result of the campaign financing scandal that gripped the city last week, he’s proud of the way he’s conducted his campaign. “The reality is I fundraise like any other candidate in this city,” Liu said.
Earlier this month, Speaker Chris Quinn, currently the Democratic frontrunner, came under fire for her position on NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, saying she’d keep him on during the next mayoral cycle. On Wednesday, Kelly told ABC’s Nightline that he believed African-Americans aren’t actually being stopped enough by the controversial, grossly racially disproportionate police practice.