NYC
01/12/2012 08:39 pm ET

Bloomberg's 2012 State Of The City Nods Toward Police Accountability

NEW YORK -- When Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his annual State of the City speech on Thursday, Time Magazine's suggestion that 2011 was the year of "The Protestor" seems to have been far from his mind. The mayor made no mention of Occupy Wall Street.

And on the issue of police accountability, which the protests highlighted, the mayor was mostly quiet, in a speech that lasted more than 40 minutes. Nothing about the increased criticism over stop-and-frisks of young black men, or civil liberties concerns about a police spying operation on Muslim New Yorkers.

The mayor's lack of a more direct discussion rankled critics in City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, who had asked in a pointed letter earlier this week for something direct, something big. What they got instead -- apparently at the request of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, according to mayoral spokesman Marc LaVorgna -- was a staffing shift.

"We don't tolerate misconduct or corruption anywhere, and we have the very highest standards for those we entrust to enforce the law," Bloomberg told the assembled dignitaries.

"To ensure that we maintain and strengthen that track record," he continued, "we will increase the attorney staffing for the Commission to Combat Police Corruption."

LaVorgna told HuffPost the changes mean that the commission's budget will increase to make room for four more lawyers. That, according to council critic Jumaane Williams, is a drop in the bucket.

"Obviously that's good. But that's like the lowest bar he could have reached for," Williams told HuffPost after the speech. "I can't say if you're giving someone a dollar it's bad, but if you've got a thousand dollars."

Williams made headlines earlier this year when he was roughed up and detained by police during the annual West Indian Day Parade. He's made a refrain of challenging the Bloomberg administration over its stop-and-frisk policy and allegations of police brutality.

"What we need is an acknowledgment that there's a problem with the police culture in this city, particularly when it comes to black/Latino communities, Caribbean communities, Muslim communities," he said.

The speech, Williams said, "was a perfect opportunity to do that. I feel like this is a slap in the face to over the half the community in this city, and over half the city council, who specifically asked him to address that."

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