New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday lashed out at critics of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policies, which are currently being challenged in federal court.
"There is no doubt that stops are a vitally important reason" why New York has lower rates of major crimes than other big American cities, Bloomberg said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Bloomberg was stern in defending the police force and accused mayoral candidates, media and legal groups in opposition to stop and frisk of “attacking” the NYPD and “playing politics with public safety.”
“Look at what's happened in Boston. Remember what happened here on 9/11. Remember all of those who have been killed by gun violence and the families they left behind," Bloomberg said. "We owe it to all of them to give our officers all the tools they need to protect innocent lives, or people will needlessly die, and we'll all be responsible."
Stop and frisk has been widely criticized for violating the human rights of African-American and Latino males, who have been targeted in disproportionate numbers. In 2010, out of 601,825 stops, 52 percent were Black people and 9 percent were white, according to a campaign by "Racism Still Exists."
Bloomberg also accused the New York Times of being biased in reporting on African-Americans and gun violence and used the recent shooting death of Alphonza Bryant, a 17-year-old Bronx, New York, teen as an example.
The Daily News reports:
“We cannot allow Alphonza to become a statistic. Alphonza was a person. He had a loving mother. Family. Friends,” the mayor said.
Bloomberg also blasted The New York Times, which he sarcastically called the “paper of record,” for ignoring Alphonza’s death but publishing, four days later, an editorial condemning stop-and-frisk as a “widely loathed practice.”
“Do you think if a white 17-year-old prep school student from Manhattan had been murdered, The Times would have ignored it?” he asked. “Me, neither.”
In an interview with the Daily News shortly after Alphonza’s death, his mother said that his graduation photos had just arrived in the mail. “We just got to remember who he was,” she mournfully told The News.
A New York Times spokesperson later called Bloomberg’s claims of bias “absurd.”
“The Times aggressively covers violence in the city's neighborhoods, and to select one murder as evidence to the contrary is disingenuous."
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