Quinn, Thompson lash out at de Blasio over stop-and-frisk
The issue of stop-and-frisk has come front and center in the mayor’s race after an ad from Bill de Blasio touted him as the only candidate truly interested in reforming the practice, in particular pointing to Quinn’s stated desire to keep Ray Kelly on as police commissioner if she were to be elected mayor.
Christine Quinn struck back at de Blasio Thursday, flanked by her supporters from the City Council just across the street from City Hall.
Quinn criticized the two “picks” de Blasio has floated for possible Police Commissioners, Phillip Banks III, the current Chief of Police, and former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, characterizing the former as” Ray Kelly’s number two guy, Chief Banks, who came to the City Council and testified for Ray Kelly” against the Community Safety Act and the latter as “the man who is across the country heralded as the pioneer of stop-and-frisk, who was just retained by Detroit to implement stop-and-frisk.”
“That’s hypocrisy,” she insisted.
Quinn advised de Blasio to “stop criticizing people who are actually getting the job done for New Yorkers,” pointedly taking responsibility for the two Community Safety Act bills that were about to be passed, “something the public advocate has not done and will never do.”
“The Public Advocate can finger-point all that he wants and criticize but he has never passed a law that would help reform stop-and-frisk,” she said. “He has never passed legislation that will … end unconstitutional stops.”
Pressed on whether she is having “second thoughts” about keeping Ray Kelly as police commissioner, Quinn insisted she was standing by her choice, and seemed to blame Mayor Michael Bloomberg alone for the flaws in Kelly’s police department.
“Has Ray Kelly followed the direction of the mayor?” Quinn continued. “Of course he has.”
“I think all commissioners follow the direction of whoever the mayor is,” Quinn said, a similar argument to that used by Thompson argument in explaining why he feels neither of the City Council’s community safety bills necessary, as he and his appointed police commissioner would enforce the current profiling ban and have stringent oversight over the department.
The fight continued on Friday, as Thompson allies, including State Senator Adriano Espaillat, made public calls for de Blasio to pull his ‘false’ ad.
“We will reform stop-and-frisk with principle, not politics,” Espaillat said. “Claiming that only Mr. de Blasio can reform stop-and-frisk is simply not true and he shouldn’t use public air-waves to advance this false claim.”
“Shame on you, Bill de Blasio!” he added.
For his part, de Blasio has asserted that the greatest distinction between his opponents and himself is that he would appoint a new police commissioner (Thompson would; Quinn wouldn’t) and he supports both the City Council’s anti-profiling and inspector general bills (Thompson supports neither; Quinn supports the inspector general bill only).
Neither bill is specifically about stop-and-frisk: in fact, in remarks prior to its passage on Thursday, Quinn noted that the inspector general would have a far broader focus than the federal court-ordered monitor, who is intended to look only at the NYPD’s execution of stop-and-frisk as a policing tool.
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