Bloomberg stands firm on stop-and-frisk ‘for the next 320 days at least’

Police in Lower Manhattan. (warmsleepy via flickr)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered his final State of the City speech today, and in it, he made an impassioned plea for stop-and-frisk, and also hinted that its days in its current form might be numbered.

"We have a responsibility to conduct them, and as long as I am mayor, we will not shirk from that responsibility," he said today at Barclays Center, adding, "We can’t let politics trump public safety and for the next 320 days at least, we won’t."

In 321 days, Bloomberg will no longer be mayor.

To varying degrees, the Democrats who would succeed him as mayor all adopt a sort of compromise position on the issue, arguing that police should continue to use stop-and-frisk, just more selectively.

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New York has seen a substantial drop in crime during Bloomberg's tenure.

Experts aren't quite sure what role stop-and-frisk has played in that, and in the past year, as public pressure has mounted and the administration has reduced its use of stop-and-frisk, the murder rate has continued to drop.

But neither Bloomberg nor his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, have any doubts.

“Now, I understand that innocent people don’t like to be stopped, but innocent people don’t like to be shot and killed, either," Bloomberg said today, his voice rising. "And stops take hundreds of guns off the street each year."

Councilman Jumaane Williams, who's one of the policy's fiercest critics, could not disagree more.

During the mayor's remarks, Williams yelled out, "That's wrong!"

"He just used lies and misinformation," Williams told reporters afterward. "Stop, question and frisk is not effective. He mentioned that the murder rate and shootings went down. He didn't mention that stop, question and frisk went down. There's never been any effective correlation between those things."