After yesterday’s announcement that Judge Shira Scheindlin has been removed from the stop and frisk case Floyd v. City of New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were feeling pretty satisfied. We know that because they appeared promptly on WOR 710, a news talk radio station, this morning, to pronounce themselves — and the philosophy behind stop-and-frisk — vindicated.
“We’re very satisfied with the ruling,” Bloomberg told host John Gambling. “It says basically that Commissioner Kelly can run the department the way he’s been running it with my approval and support for the last 12 years, and bringing crime down.” The mayor added that it was also a victory for the city’s police officers: “A majority of them are black and Hispanic. They have had their names dragged through the mud over the last year. I think they deserve a lot better than that.”
For his part, Kelly said the ruling meant absolutely nothing would change in the NYPD.
“Police officers are going to continue to do an outstanding job,” he said. “You just look at the numbers. We’re at records lows in shootings, records lows in murders. … The city just feels safe. I certainly hope nothing changes of significance.”
Kelly also took the opportunity to defend the number of stop-and-frisks performed, focusing, curiously, on how many officers perform them, not how many people are stopped.
“The stops that have been talked about, several hundred thousand, those numbers amount to less than one stop a week per patrol officer,” Kelly said. “We think it’s eminently reasonable with what’s going on in New York City, the size and context of a city where the daytime population goes to about 10 million.” (The NYPD has conducted 5 million stop and frisks in the past 11 years, performing over 500,000 in 2012 alone.)
“We think the officers are doing an oustanding job,” Kelly added. “We’re always open to listening to recommendations and suggestions, but we’re heartened by this decision.”
Bloomberg acknowledged that the ruling does not affect the City Council’s vote to appoint an inspector general to oversee the NYPD , although the conversation didn’t dwell on that. Instead, they quickly shifted back to stop-and-frisk itself, which Bloomberg said, not for the first time, is actually a boon to the black and Hispanic communities.
“We didn’t get a chance to explain who is really saved here, if you take a look,” Bloomber said. “There were 7,500 fewer deaths in the last 12 years than there would’ve been if the police department led by Ray hadn’t continued to bring crime down and used appropriate and legal techniques to get kids not not carry guns, and if they do, show them there’s a penalty. It’s likely those 7,500 people would’ve been young minority males. That’s where we have a big problem.”
Bloomberg added that he’s donated “a lot of money” to help young black men, “But in the meantime we have to keep this city safe. Most of the crime is in two neighborhoods. And Ray has focused, as he should, a very big percentage of his resources where the crime is. You don’t go and make stops based on what the general population is, you make stops in the neighborhood where there’s crime.”
In 2010, according to the NYPD’s own data, packaged into a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the police conducted 372,060 more stops, but recovered only 96 more guns, amounting to an increased recovery rate of .02 percent. Each year since 2002, an average 89 to 90 percent of the people stopped have been innocent of any crime.
If the next mayor decides to drop the city’s appeal against Floyd, as frontrunner Bill de Blasio has said he will, Scheindlin’s orders will still go into effect.
At least one rally is already planned to protest the ruling; an Occupy Wall Street working committee announced they’d hold a protest on the steps of Federal Hall tonight at 5:30.
Last night, City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, a vocal opponent of stop-and-frisk, released a statement saying, in part, “While this stay is frustrating, when the court hears the merits of the case again, there is no doubt that we will win again.”