'There would be another 5,600 people dead today': Bloomberg spars with reporters on stop-and-frisk
Today, following a press conference announcing the Mets would host the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Mayor Michael Bloomberg faced a barrage of questions from reporters about the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk. During the sometimes-testy back-and-forth, he said he had no apologies.
The issue has come to consume the still incipient 2013 mayoral race, with the Democratic candidates calling for various reforms of the NYPD's current strategy.
Just this morning, a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit targeting the police department's use of stop-and-frisk.
And so today, during a question-and-answer session following the Mets press conference, reporters asked the mayor about stop-and-frisk.
Did he have any response to the federal judge's decision to grant class-action status to plaintiffs in the stop-and-frisk suit?
"I haven't read the decision," said the mayor. "All I know is what you're saying, and I don't know whether you've read the decision or not."
Is it consistent for Council Speaker Christine Quinn to both endorse Ray Kelly as police comissioner and criticize his department's use of stop-and-frisk?
"You'll have to ask Chris," the mayor said.
Does the mayor have any response to this week's criticism from he mayoral contenders?
Bloomberg responded by talking about the city's historically low murder rate, and then told a story about a woman he'd met who had a bullet unexpectedly fly into her living room.
"There's just too many guns all over the place," he said.
Given the reduction in crime, is the mayor disheartened by the level of controversy surrounding stop-and-frisk?
"My understanding is the polls show overwhelming support by the public for the tactics that we've been using to bring down crime," said Bloomberg. "And, you know, there's always going to be somebody that disagrees, and they have a right, but if you were to ever do a balanced story, I think you'd find that it's a minority of people who don't like the tactic. We are very careful to follow the law. We go where the crime is. If our school system were better and if we kept working with families to help them raise their kids, maybe someday we won't have the crime. But right now we unfortunately do in certain communities."
The mayor took some questions about the impending Facebook offering, the All-Star Game, the teachers union, and then returned, of his own volition, to stop-and-frisk.
He said, "If we had just held onto the gains that Rudy Giuliani's administration brought to the city, and he did reduce dramatically the crime, there would be another 5,600 people dead today. Instead, those people are alive, and the data shows incidentally that 90 percent of those people would have been black or Hispanic."
"Nobody's asked Ray Kelly to apologize," Bloomberg continued. "He's not going to and neither am I, for saving 5,600 lives."