New York City mayoral contender Bill Thompson Tuesday rolled out his stop-and-frisk reform plan -- including a requirement that each stop be documented with a ticket, saying that would create a record and increase transparency.
"Officers will provide people with written information on why he or she was stopped: why it's happening, what led to the stop and why the police officer chose to stop the individual," the Democratic former comptroller said at a news conference outside NYPD headquarters. The paperwork would take two minutes, he said.
Thompson said he would "state clear criteria" for when cops can stop and frisk. He did not detail the criteria in his speech but offered a scenario when prompted by a reporter: A person leaving a "known drug hangout"with "a bulge in their pocket."
Condemning racial profiling, he evoked Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech with the 50th anniversary of the historic march on Washington approaching. Thompson said, "We know thatevery time we stop a black or Latino child because of the color of his skin, we are prejudging the content of his character."
Stop-and-frisk has been a top issue in the campaign. A federal judge's ruling last week that the practice is unconstitutional will be appealed. Also, the City Council is set to vote Thursday on overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of bills to provide oversight of the NYPD and make it easier to sue cops for bias-profiling.
Thompson, who opposes both bills, called on rival Bill de Blasio to take down a campaign ad claiming to be the "only candidate" pledged "to end a stop-and-frisk era that targets minorities." Thompson, Christine Quinn and other Democrats have called for reforms.
De Blasio's spokesman Dan Levitan would not directly address the ad, but in a statement portrayed Thompson as a flip-flopper. "In May, Bill Thompson said there was an 'overreaction' to stop and frisk."
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota defended the stop-and-frisk policy, citing the NYPD's takedown of a major gunrunning operation Monday in which wiretapped remarks from a suspect suggested it had a deterrent effect.
"It's deeply disturbing that criminals know what the Democratic mayoral candidates fail to acknowledge: stop, question and frisk keeps illegal guns off our streets," Lhota said.
A Lhota rival in the GOP primary, John Catsimatidis, appeared with former Gov. George Pataki to urge the council not to override Bloomberg's vetoes. "The City Council is about to put handcuffs on our police, instead of the criminals," Catsimatidis said. ___