De Blasio: NYPD administering a ‘fatal dose’ of stop-and-frisk

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Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said the New York Police Department's more than 700,000 recorded stop-and-frisks last year represent a "fatal" dose of an otherwise worthwhile crimefighting tactic. De Blasio made the comment Sunday in Queens after reading a quote from the former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, who equated stop-and-frisks with chemo-therapy: "While too high a risk can be fatal, the right amount can save a person or a city's life."

"Well, right now we're doing the fatal dose," de Blasio said.

He went on to say, "We are applying stop-and-frisk in such a fashion that it's actually counterproductive and it's hurting the most fundamental element of public safety, which is the ability of the community and the police to work together."

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Most of the 2013 Democratic mayoral candidates have criticized the NYPD's current use of stop-and-frisk, although there have been significant differences in emphasis.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sent a letter to the NYPD saying that "at times, SQF has been carried out in a way that has sown distrust in communities of color," referring to the technique the same way the NYPD and law enforcement officials do: stop-question-frisk.

Quinn's recommendations include more Council oversight and police training in order to make application of stop-and-frisk more selective. But in the letter, Quinn also makes it clear that crime was reduced through use of the tactic.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, by contrast, has called for ending the program in its current form. In public comments, Stringer said black and Latino families have a completely different relationship with the police, at one point saying "grandparents and parents of African-American young men actually worry when they send their kid out to get a quart of milk. They're not worried about the drug dealer, they're more worried about the interaction with the police."

City Comptroller John Liu and 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson have also criticized the NYPD's current use of stop-and-frisk.