Bill Thompson delivers speech on race relations after Trayvon Martin verdict

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Saying the city has institutionalized George Zimmerman’s profiling of Trayvon Martin through stop-and-frisk, former city comptroller Bill Thompson gave a speech on race relations Sunday.

“Here in New York City, we have institutionalized Mr. Zimmerman’s suspicion with a policy that all but requires our police officers to treat young black and Latino men with suspicion, to stop them and frisk them because of the color of their skin,” Thompson said during a speech a non-denonminational black church in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

“If our government profiles people because of skin color and treats them as potential criminals, how can we expect citizens to do any less?” Thompson said.

The only black candidate for mayor, Thompson spoke about race in the city two weeks after Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering 17-year-old Martin in Florida. In the hours following the jury’s decision, Thompson tweeted Martin was killed because he was black. Though he was criticized by some politicians and pundits for the remark, Thompson reaffirmed that thought during the speech.

“George Zimmerman was suspicious of Trayvon because he was young and he was black,” Thompson said, adding the system “failed” his son, Martin and America.

Thompson said he was moved to speak after President Barack Obama’s speech. Thompson said he, like the president, will always be a black man.

Thompson rallied with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin’s mother at One Police Plaza last weekend, but said he’s also had “quiet conversations” with his family, including his son and two daughters, about the verdict.

While Thompson said he doesn’t think the government can stop racism, he thinks it can enable it “unintentionally.”

“The verdict in Florida was a verdict—but it was not the verdict,” Thompson said.

“Let the verdict of these days instead be this: that in protest on our streets, in quiet conversation with our families, or in the halls and chambers of our government, we will ask the hard questions, face the hard truths, and honor our fathers’ and mothers’ dreams,” he said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.

Local

(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Arts

'Becoming Cuba' at Huntington is a bit short…

Playwright Melinda Lopez freely lampoons the English language for its lack of passion in her latest work, “Becoming Cuba.” Ironically, the Huntington Theatre Company’s playwright-in-residence…

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

NFL

Patriot’s schedule comes up fair

Those looking for built-in excuses for the Patriots 2014-2015 season will have to look elsewhere, because their schedule came up fair. For the fourth straight…

MLB

Nava demoted, Victorino return imminent

  Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who was batting a team-low .149/.240/.269, was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. "His struggles at the plate, I…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.