Lawmaker: Ray Kelly wants people to ‘feel that any time they leave their house they can be searched by the police’

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Scott Stringer and Eric Adams. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told lawmakers in two private meetings that he wanted young black and Latino men to feel they could be stopped and searched by police officers at any point, according to State Senator Eric Adams, who attended the meetings.

Adams spoke today at a press conference in lower Manhattan where lawmakers said they wanted federal oversight of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, in light of the recent arrest of a police officer charged with detaining a man because of his skin color.

"The racial disparities are as bad as ever," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. "It's not getting better. It's actually getting worse. And we now need the federal government to help us."

Later, Stringer said, "We have a real crisis in this city" and "the soul of our city is at stake."

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"Too many white New Yorkers have turned their backs on the large number of young blacks and Hispanics who have done nothing wrong," said Adams, a former police officer.

He said, "Because your children" are not complaining about it, "you have basically said, 'let's ignore it.'"

At the event, Adams said, "There's one quote Commissioner Kelly told me that I'll never forget. He stated, the reason we use stop-and-frisk and target the group that we do is because we want all people who fit that group to feel that any time they leave their house they can be searched by the police. This will prevent them from carrying weapons."

Adams said the meeting at which Kelly made the remarks took place in 2010. Adams said Kelly repeated the explanation later when he met with Brooklyn lawmakers.

I emailed a copy of Adams remarks to Kelly's spokesman and will update when there is a response. 

Earlier today, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing Kelly's popularity among voters was higher than that of anyone else likely to run for mayor in 2013. (Such a poll at this point is most likely measuring name recognition as much as anything else, but it's still an impressive measure of Kelly's enduring popularity.)

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in response to the poll numbers, said she was glad New Yorkers appreciated Kelly, and that overall, he was doing a "terrific job."

I asked Stringer whether he agreed.

"I have truly great respect for Commissioner Kelly," said Stringer, who went on to say that disagreeing with him "doesn't mean we disrespect him."