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
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.