In The New Yorker’s “After Bloomberg,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured) says that when it comes to his legacy, he’d like to be remembered as the mayor who brought the city “efficient, honest government that is responsive to the needs of the people, without worrying about politics, focusing instead on the things that will make a difference in the long term.”
For a specific fraction of the population, perhaps that is how he’ll be remembered, but for the Black and Brown wings of the community, he’ll be known as the staunch advocate of “Stop and Frisk,” which U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin recently ruled to be unconstitutional.
As Scheindlin wrote in her ruling:
The city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner.
It is also a policy whose effectiveness has been challenged despite Bloomberg’s assurance that he knows of what he speaks. Such is a sentiment professed so often by the three-time New York mayor that “I know of what I speak” could serve as the title of his autobiography, biopic, and funeral program.
Meanwhile, in 2012 the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) used the NYPD’s own statistics to dispute the notion that the stop-and-frisk program has served as an effective tool to take guns off the streets.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said of their analysis:
The NYPD’s own data undermine many of the Bloomberg administration’s justifications for the stop-and-frisk program. Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of communities of color to trust and respect the police.
Likewise, PolicyMic’s Justine Gonzalez wrote:
There is no conclusive evidence directly linking the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy to the overall decrease in crime rates or to the slight decrease in shootings.
The NYPD didn’t make it easy for groups to prove how fallacious their argument about the benefits of stop-and-frisk was then and continues to be in the present. The NYCLU had to sue the NYPD in 2007 for access to their electronic stop-and-frisk database. A year later, a State Supreme Court judge ordered the NYPD to turn over the database.
Prior to this legal action, the NYPD kept all information about the program in shrouded in secrecy.
What was that Mike Bloomberg was saying about “efficient, honest government” again? Never mind. After all, Mike Bloomberg knows better than you and I!