Up   |  March 24, 2013

Stop-and-frisk in the NYC race for mayor

Four of the Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, Sal Albanese, a former city councilman, Bill Thompson, the former New York Comptroller and the Democratic nominee for mayor in 2009, and John Liu, the current city comptroller, debate stop-and-frisk, one of the most hotly police tactics in the country.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good morning. from new york , i'm chris hayes . the u.s. secretary of state , john kerry , arrived in baghdad this morning on a surprise visit to iraq. his first since becoming secretary of state and pope plan sis at a palm sunday mass this morning. first of a week of ceremonies leading to easter. right now i want to talk about one of the most hotly debated police tactics in the country which was put on trial this week and n the federal court in manhattan. class action lawsuit against the northbound police department oar its controversial policy of stopping, questioning and frisking people on the street , a tactic known as stop and frisk it began on monday and unfolded in dramatic fashion with whistle blower police officers testifying against the nypd and stop and frisk breaking down on the stand. thursday, one of the trial's most explosive moments the court heard a recording of a conversation between a patrolman and commanding officer of the stop and frisk policy. in which the commanding officer seemed to suggest skin color can be a deciding forecast tore in who is stopped. conversation was recorded by the parole officer in the south bronx 40th precinct. in a conversation the commanding officer, deputy inspector christopher mccormack, urges her honor to be more active and conduct more street stops in order to suppress violent crime . they discussed a crime-prone neighborhood in the bronx as an example.

>> this is about stopping the right people, the right place, the right location.

>> okay.

>> take mott haif wren where we had the most problems. robberies.

>> right.

>> who are they robbing?

>> male blacks. i told you at roll call , i have no problem telling you this. male blacks, 14 to 20 2shgs 1. i said this at roll call .

>> stop and frisk trial a major flash point in the city this week. also become a central issue, one likely the most hotly contested political race of third. the new york mayoral race. city's first mayoral race in 12 years without mike bloomberg spending large sums of his own money to overwhelm his opponents. as a result the field is crowded. it is also the best chance democrats have had in regaining the mayorality since last democrat held office in 1993 . new york politics long has been considered generous because new york 's economy and demographic contours different from those the rest of the country. there is a country growing more diverse and independent as income and inequality sigh rockets, more americans find themselves working low wage service jobs, looking more and more like new york . many of the political problems we are grappling with, immigration, minimum wage , what the repost-recession economy should look like, policy, policing, are issues at the center of new york 's mayoral race. my great pleasure to have with me four of the democratic candidates for mayor of the new york city , bill de blasio. sal albanese, former city councilman . bill thompson , former new york comptroller and nominee for mayor in 2009 . john liu , current city comptroller. we reached out to christine quinn who is also running but could not join us today. gentlemen, thank you very much for being here.

>> thank you.

>> this trial, i think, is -- really explosive. and i thinks that really changed the contours the politics on this issue. i'm curious what your feeling is about what this means going forward about the stop and frisk policy and how do you -- my sense is that there's broad agreement that the current status quo has to change. am i right about that?

>> yes. i think the trial of the indictment on the policy itself, we all -- understood that racial proceed piling was so integral, just look at the results. almost everybody being stopped is black or brown.

>> 80% of stop and frisk .

>> more than that. something like 87%. not only that, even in the white neighborhoods, it is all minorities that are being stopped and frisked. there's no denying that this racial profiling going on here. and add to the pact that almost everybody who is being stopped, almost 700,000 in one year alone, almost everybody being stopped, has done absolutely nothing wrong. this is -- you know, this is not america. this is not democratic.

>> confirmation after lot of this that we have been saying. this is perhaps a useful policing tool that's been misused and abused. that's occurred for years. so when you start to stop people based on purely what they look like and who they are, as you said, more than 9 on% of the people are black and hispanic.

>> i think it is useful to be improve pd we need intensive training of a police officer of what the appropriate constitutional methodology is of stop and frisk . assign them to patrols and interact with the community. they will trust . thirdly, i think we need to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana so the -- that's a huge reason, that's a -- i hi we immediate to -- legalize it, tax it, regulate it.

>> this idea about useful but overused. i want to explore that idea. because i think that's been the -- that's sort of the line for a lot of people, christine quinn , said that before. previous communications. called it a useful tactic. should we just ban the tactic? should people not get stopped and frisked?

>> i disagree. it is -- policing tactic that's been wildly overused. obviously in many cases using it in unconstitutional manner. look, now you need the reform, the approach, and we need a new police commissioner. this is the difference i have certainly with christine quinn who wants to keep ray kelly , ray kelly has been the architect of the overuse and stop and frisk . we need inspector general. when we have had in new york city , think about magnitude here. hundreds of thousands of more stops a year. there was never a vote on that. never a public debate.

>> comes back to, again, the need for a new mayor. and a mayor who understands.

>> there is consensus at the table about that.

>> new police commissioner.

>> is that a shared view?

>> i would not keep kelly.

>> i'm not going make any decisions about police commissions until i get the job. all i can say is that what i do believe is that stop and frisk is a useful tool that does keep guns off the street . that's been proven across -- it has to be done constitutionally. cops need more training, intensive training in the academy. to improve it.

>> easy to say that. first of all, i guess there is consensus we need a new mayor. there isn't consensus on the issue of stop and frisk . i believe i'm the only one here at this table who believes that stop and frisk should be abolished because the mums don't bear out the facts. we -- the mayor and the police commission have claimed that stop and frisk has saved lives. that has -- led to guns being taken off the street . the fact of the matter is that there has been a minimal decrease in the number of murders in new york city . even as stop and frisks have gone up from something like 97,000 a year to 685 though thousand. you know, the number of guns being taken off the street , it is less than 1 in 1,000 cases. now, it is not -- i don't disagree it reduces crime. but so would 11:00 p.m . curfew, 10:00 p.m . curfew. at some point we have to understand that we live in a democratic society and people should not be stopped on the street .

>> let me introduce -- interject. part of the issue here is this sense that there is a quota. it is not just that this -- a discretional. this is a -- if people were watching this, not following the trial, it is amazing. have you these police officers , working police officers , so outraged by this. they find it so ridiculous what they are being asked to go. going to their commanding officers and taping them. this is a deal polanco testifying on the 20-1 quota. 20 sum sxons one arrest per month. not negotiable. ith their or you are going to become a pizza hut deliveryman was his testimony. that's a good sound bite .

>> police officers said that you are removing the art of being a police officer from them. you are taking their discretion away. they know what to do. correct oversight should be there. at same point the quota, let's see, the indicators, performance indicators, i think that's the phrase that's used, should -- you know --

>> very careful about -- elimination of a constitutional option of the police have. camden, new jersey, half the cops laid off in that city. gun violence up because there's no one -- these -- bad guys on the street -- if you do what john suggests, eliminate stop, question and frisk, constitutional option if done properly, you will have -- you will have --

>> did you think crime will go up more people carrying guns no doubt bit.

>> quota situation has made it impossible for us to continue community policing . community policing depends on real communication and respect both ways between policing and the community. here's the other thing. practical courts understandably are getting deeper and deeper.

>> they will render a judgment on this.

>> it includes new york city because we didn't do our own oversight right. federal courts starting to that.

>> because of bad policy, the federal government is looking at this. this is a policy that has gone wild. that has --

>> why has it gone wild?

>> it is all a numbers game .

>> i know it is a numbers game . what i have seen in the trajectory of this is this was happening -- it says something about the way the power works in the city. this was happening in -- every 15-year-old black kid in the bronx and in brooklyn and queens. and in harlem.

>> creating so much outrage.

>> yes. but why has it taken so long for that outrage to manifest itself?

>> as stop and frisks have gone up and up and up in recent years, the outrage is bubbling over to the point where now it is just unacceptable. amount of division that has created between police and community members has gotten to the point i believes the making it less safe for everybody. meanwhile, it is distracting resource.

>> in 2009 . it wasn't as if it wasn't spoken about and hasn't been spoken about.

>> ran in 2009 .

>> what's occurred over a period of time is the numbers continue to escalate. almost 200,000 stop and frisks and wait a minute, there's something wrong.

>> tipping point.

>> there has been an absolute deference to the police commissioner in new york city in a way we have not seen anywhere else in the country and this is a big part of the problem. you don't see the president of the united states say to the commander of the joint chiefs do whatever you want . here in new york city , the police commissioner has been without oversight or without any kind of reigning in. that's how a policy like this got so far.

>> inspector general overseeing the police department . i want to play a bit of sound of mayor bloomberg , who very critical of the idea of that. we will hear that after we take this break. it's