In a development that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg can’t be too happy about, local pols met in Washington with the U.S. Justice Department this week to lobby for a federal investigation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign.
Kelly, through his 10-year tenure, has been successful at blocking or discouraging outside agencies from probing NYPD operations. But this time, he may well fail to stop it, given the political momentum that critics of stop-and-frisk have built in recent months.
In addition to a civil rights investigation, the pols want the government to withhold grant money from the city unless the NYPD changes the policy, and to get involved in lawsuits that challenge stop-and-frisk.
The number of stops has skyrocketed by more than 900 percent in recent years, and mostly targets young black and hispanic men, but yields a tiny percentage of arrests. A federal judge last month gave class action status to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on stop and frisk, and noted that the evidence indicated there had been thousands of illegal stops.