After a US District judge condemned the NYPD's use of stop and frisk Wednesday--granting a major lawsuit class action status-- Mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out at the media for its coverage of the controversial police practice.
At an unrelated press conference, Bloomberg once again defended stop and frisk from criticism.
"Nobody should ask Ray Kelly to apologize—he's not going to and neither am I—for saving 5,600 lives," Bloomberg said, according to Capital New York. "I think it's fair to say that stop-question-and-frisk has been an essential part of the NYPD's work."
And when pressed if he was disheartened by the growing controversy surrounding the issue, Bloomberg responded:
My understanding is the polls show overwhelming support by the public for the tactics that we've been using to bring down crime. And, you know, there's always going to be somebody that disagrees, and they have a right, but if you were to ever do a balanced story, I think you'd find that it's a minority of people who don't like the tactic. We are very careful to follow the law. We go where the crime is. If our school system were better and if we kept working with families to help them raise their kids, maybe someday we won't have the crime. But right now we unfortunately do in certain communities."
(A Quinnipiac poll released in March shows 49 percent percent of New York voters disapproving of the NYPD's use of stop and frisk with 46 percent approving. Broken down by race, white voters approve 59 - 36 percent, while disapproval is 68 - 27 percent among black voters and 52 - 43 percent among Hispanic voters.)
After fielding questions on other topics, Bloomberg, unprompted, returned again to stop and frisk.
We've been in office for a little over 10 years. When we came into office, people always thought that crime was at rock bottom, and it couldn't go any lower. I think conventional wisdom was that crime would go up in this city. If that had been true, and if we had just held onto the gains that Rudy Giuliani's administration brought to the city—and he did dramatically reduce the crime—there'd be another 5,600 people dead today. Instead those people are alive, and the data shows incidentally that 90% of those people would have been black or Hispanic.
Nobody should ask Ray Kelly to apologize—he's not going to and neither am I—for saving 5600 lives. I think it's fair to say that stop-question-and-frisk has been an essential part of the NYPD's work, it's taken more than 6,000 guns off the streets in the last eight years. This year we're on pace to have the lowest number of murders in recorded history, and not just by a little, but by a lot. We are not going to do anything that undermines that trend, or threatens public safety. We are the safest big city in the country, and we are determined to keep it that way...
If you went out and surveyed the public, you'd find overwhelming support for what we're doing. And a handful of people who have a right to express themselves feel differently. But some people write that there's nothing the cops can do that would be acceptable, other than turn the streets over, to bring it back to 2,200 murders a year. We're not going to do that.
The NYPD is currently setting a record pace for stopping and frisking New Yorkers. In the first three months of 2012, the NYPD stopped people 203,500 times. In the same three months last year, the NYPD stopped people 183,326 times.
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