NEW YORK — Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly assailed a federal judge's finding of racial discrimination and demand for changes to his department's stop and frisk practice, telling a Sunday news show that minority communities will be "the losers" if the ruling isn't overturned.
During interviews on three different shows, Kelly also raised questions about the judge's call to try outfitting officers with tiny video cameras. Throughout, he faulted the judge's reasoning and defended the New York Police Department's use of stop and frisk as legal and life-saving.
"The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." He noted that 97 percent of shooting victims are black or Hispanic, reasoned that similar demographics apply if a stop deters a killing and added that there have been more than 7,300 fewer killings in the 11 full years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure so far than in the 11 years before.
"Things are going right here in New York. And this decision certainly has the potential of overturning it," Kelly said on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
If stop and frisk were abandoned, "no question about it _violent crime will go up," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Over the past decade, police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people; 87 percent were black or Hispanic, groups that make up 54 percent of the city population. About 10 percent of the stops spur an arrest or summons. Police find weapons a fraction of the time.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin declared Monday that at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion and that the NYPD's practice is intentionally racially biased. The city plans to appeal.
Kelly said Sunday that Scheindlin's ruling rested on mistaken logic: The racial and ethnic makeup of those stopped should be compared to and reliably mirrors that of crime suspects, not the population at large, Kelly said. The judge called that approach wrong "because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent – not criminal."
Kelly and Bloomberg have made the same point before, and civil rights and minority advocates have deplored it, particularly after Bloomberg said in June that "we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little."
Kelly's remarks Sunday brought a rebuke from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous.
"Just because there are more murders in our community doesn't mean that you can treat all of us like we are guilty," Jealous said on "Meet the Press." "... He's just way off base."
Scheindlin appointed a monitor to oversee various changes, including a one-year test that could put video cameras in more than 1,000 officers' lapels or eyeglasses.
Kelly suggested Sunday the cameras could be problematic when police respond to domestic arguments or when someone wants to provide confidential information.
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"This decision sadly confirms what was profoundly obvious. When the police stop tens of thousands of citizens who have done nothing wrong - the overwhelming number being young men of color - basic civil rights are being violated. The policy of using stop and frisk as a deterrent rather than a tool for the pursuit of actual criminals has to change. I would hope that the court considers withholding judgment on the need for a federal monitor until after a new mayor and police commissioner are in place in January." "Last week, I laid out a plan for correcting the abuses of stop and frisk. We must include invalid stops in regular CompStat reports. We should outfit police officers with lapel cameras to record interactions. And we should adopt a policy of focused deterrence that works to target known criminals rather than whole communities." "This is a teachable moment for our city. We must relearn the most basic of edicts of American life. We do not need to sacrifice our civil rights to live in a safe city. You can reduce crime while increasing respect."
"As I have said, the present stop and frisk policy violates the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers, but especially innocent blacks and Latinos. Instead of treating our police and people with respect, the Mayor and Commissioner Kelly have imposed what are effectively quotas on the police and treated entire minority communities with suspicion. "I want to thank the men and women who came forward to testify to ensure everyone's constitutional rights are preserved. I want them - and all New Yorkers - to know that I will protect our streets and protect the rights of our people. I will uphold the law and work with the Federal monitor to make sure New Yorkers never have to choose between their constitutional rights and their safety. I will ensure the court's decision fulfills its objective - a New York where everyone is protected by the law."
Bill de Blasio
"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. The overuse and misuse of stop-and-frisk hasn't made New York a safer city, it has only served to drive police and community further apart. The only way to end the abuse of stop-and-frisk in New York City is with real reform, and I am the only candidate committed to enacting the changes we urgently need. We must override Mayor Bloomberg’s vetoes of legislation to ban racial profiling and to create an independent inspector general for the NYPD."
“Today’s court ruling affirms what we have known for some time, too many young men of color are being stopped in the streets of New York in an unconstitutional manner and that must stop. At the height of this program, some 700,000 New Yorkers have been stopped with the overwhelming number resulting in no arrest or seizing of contraband, that’s why the City needs —and I passed —and Inspector General for the NYPD. The NYPD Inspector General will help review and provide guidance to ensure that stop and frisk is done in a constitutionally sound manner that focuses on the quality of the stops, not the quantity. And as mayor, I intend to work with the federal monitor to help ensure these stops come down dramatically so that we can build stronger relationships between our communities of color and our police force. ”
“Today’s ruling by Judge Scheindlin declaring that police have overstepped their authority highlights the enormous flaws in the NYPD’s ‘stop and frisk’ tactic, which has served to undermine trust between communities and law enforcement. The judge’s call for reforms must be heeded, and – longer term – the tactic should be abolished. It’s time to put an end to stop and frisk once and for all.”
"Today, the courts upheld what any reasonable New Yorker has known since day one: Stop and frisk is a legal police tool that keeps our city safe when it is used properly. There was never any doubt that the city was casting too wide of a net and focusing on quantity rather than quality when numbers peaked in 2011. Since then, the NYPD has moved in the right direction by training officers better and reducing unnecessary stops. This ruling will accelerate that process. Don't let my opponents fool you: today's ruling does not close the book on this issue. Despite appointing a federal monitor, Judge Scheindlin didn't embrace the reckless proposals of my opponents. She didn't call to abolish stop and frisk as John Liu had hoped. She didn't call for the city to waste money on a toothless inspector general as Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn would like. She didn't compare police officers to vigilantes, like Bill Thompson did, or to Nazis, like Anthony Weiner did. Despite these facts, I'm sure they will each use this ruling to stir up voters and fan flames against our rank-and-file officers. After all, they've been unwilling to express even a modicum of support for our officers. But the vast majority of New Yorkers won't be fooled. Unlike my opponents, they exercise basic common sense. They know that the NYPD has made us safer than ever. They know we need more officers on patrol to keep it that way. Most importantly, they know that there is only one Democrat who they can trust to stand up for our officers rather than kick them around like a political football."