3:30 pm Jul. 3, 2012
San Francisco's mayor Ed Lee recently said that he's considering adopting a stop-and-frisk strategy similar to one employed by the New York Police Department under Ray Kelly.
For one outspoken proponent of the tactic, such a move by a Democratic official in a bastion of liberalism should be a signal for the array of New York-based Democratic officials, unions and civil-liberties organizations calling for an overhaul of the program to reassess their position.
"I would hope that the people who oppose stop-and-frisk take a second look at the policy," said Heather Mac Donald, a policy expert with the Manhattan Institute and author of the book Are Cops Racists?, whose premise is that false charges of racial profiling undermine crime fighting efforts.
"Certainly if San Francisco adopts it, it does provide a very strong counterargument to the knee-jerk reaction to the New York Times and the advocates and the lawsuit that is going on against the NYPD," said Mac Donald, referring to the class-action lawsuit pending in federal district court.
Some critics of the NYPD tactic in New York have urged the mayor of San Francisco to drop his proposal.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams wrote a letter to Lee saying the stop-and-frisk policy "simply doesn't work and only accomplishes the deterioration of policy-community relations."
The executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, said in a statement, "If the mayor of San Francisco wants to fight crime, he would be wise to look at policies that perform better than New York City’s stop-and-frisk regime which has a 90 percent failure rate. Nearly nine out of every 10 people stopped and interrogated on our streets are let go without an arrest or even a ticket."
Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform said, "We urge Mayor Lee to exhibit serious caution in replicating a system that is broken and that will undoubtedly negatively impact the people of San Francisco."
Lee reportedly had a discussion with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has enthusiastically defended his police commissioner and the department's tactics against all criticism.