By YOAV GONEN and DAN MACLEODMayor Bloomberg’s off-the-cuff comments have finally come back to bite him.
Hizzoner declared yesterday that whites are stopped and frisked at a higher rate than minorities based on city crime statistics — giving instant ammunition to his political opponents.
“I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.
Bloomberg argued that black and Hispanic males are stopped disproportionately to the rate they are suspects in crimes — and that his critics base their statistics on the overall population.
Tomas E. Gaston
“The mayor’s comments seem to indicate that if you’re black or Latino, you’re automatically a murder suspect in the city of New York,” said Bill Thompson.
“What he indicates to the hundreds of thousands of people who are stopped and frisked unnecessarily in past years is that ‘we’re sorry we didn’t stop more people in the city of New York.’ ”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said he was “outraged.”
“[The mayor] literally said the police aren’t stopping black and Latino people enough — that by the statistics, there should be more stops, particularly of young men,” de Blasio said. “That is unacceptable. It’s out of touch, it’s insensitive, and I dare say it is hurtful to people all over the city.”
Christine Quinn also criticized the mayor.
“I disagree strongly with the mayor on this point. We have too many stops that overwhelmingly focus on young men of color, yielding very few weapons,” she said.
Bloomberg cited NYPD statistics stating that whites make up 7 percent of all murder suspects, but 9 percent of all stops. Meanwhile, 87 percent of those who are stopped and frisked are people of color, though they made up 90 percent of all murder suspects.
“I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course. Or a logic course,” he said of stop-and-frisk critics. “People say, well, you know, cops shouldn’t be stopping so many of any one group . . . The cops’ job is to stop so many of groups fitting the description. It’s society’s job to make sure that no one group is disproportionately represented as potential perpetrators.”
His comments followed the City Council’s passage of two bills on Thursday aimed at curbing the practice. One bill creates an inspector general in charge of monitoring the NYPD, and the other makes it easier to sue the city for racial profiling. They passed with a veto-proof majority, but Bloomberg has said he would pressure council members to vote against overriding.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly last month said as many as 75 percent of the suspects in major crimes were described as black, though they make up 53 percent of stops.
“So really, African-Americans are being under-stopped in relation to the percentage of people being described as being the perpetrators of violent crime,” he said on TV’s “Nightline.” The stark reality is that a crime happens in communities of color.”
Additional reporting by Jensen Werley