A majority of likely voters in the Democratic primary for New York City mayor believe the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk tactics is "excessive" and harasses "innocent people," according to a new poll.
And the majority of those critical of the police tactic support Bill de Blasio, who the same poll has as the new frontrunner in what's becoming a topsy-turvy race for mayor.
The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, was released on Tuesday, a day after a federal judge ruled that the NYPD's use of police stops violated thousands of New Yorkers' constitutional rights.
Sixty percent of those polled seemed to agree with the judge's ruling, saying NYPD stops are "excessive." 66 percent said they supported the the installation of a NYPD inspector general to act as a watchdog over the department.
Of those critical of stop and frisk, 34 percent supported de Blasio, 24 percent supported Bill Thompson, and 22 percent supported Christine Quinn.
De Blasio--who surged ahead in the race Tuesday with 30-percent support to Quinn's 24-percent support--commended the stop-and-frisk decision Monday, but also took a swipe at Quinn, blaming the proliferation of stops over the last decade on the City Council Speaker's "acquiescence" to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"The courts have just affirmed facts that too many New Yorkers know to be true: under the Bloomberg Administration, with the acquiescence of Speaker Quinn, millions of innocent New Yorkers -- overwhelmingly young men of color -- have been illegally stopped," De Blasio said.
Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said Tuesday that the NYPD has become an important topic for Democratic voters.
"Two related issues which seem to resonate with Democratic voters are stop and frisk and the creation of an inspector general for the New York Police Department," he said. "U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin did her part for the voters by appointing a federal monitor for the NYPD. If politicians follow the poll results too, the NYPD is going to get still another outside monitor."
Tuesday's data could suggest that de Blasio has benefited from a firmer stance on stop and frisk than Quinn's
Quinn has vacillated on the issue. In April, she opposed legislation permitting New Yorkers to file stop-and-frisks lawsuits, but allowed the measure to come to a vote--a move that disappointed civil liberties groups.
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have vowed to appeal Monday's stop-and-frisk ruling, arguing the practice has kept New Yorkers safe and crime rates low.
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