10:42 am Mar. 20, 20131
Here's a clip from last night's mayoral forum, where John Liu elicited an angry response from Bill Thompson over stop-and-frisk.
The event was focused on public safety, and held at First Presbyterian Church, a black church in Jamaica. It was sponsored by the Daily News and IAF, an umbrella organization representing local nonprofit groups.
After Thompson talked about having had to warn his 15-year-old son about the dangers of being stopped by the police, Liu said, "Every time you talk about your 15-year-old son, I feel terrible. ... Bill, I want you to join me [in calling for an end to stop-and-frisk] because I feel lonely..."
Liu's comments drew some applause from the crowd.
Thompson's response: "I'm the one who has to worry about my son being stopped-and-frisk. I'm the one who has to worry about my son being shot in the streets of New York. I'm the one who has to worry."
Thompson, like every one of the Democratic mayoral contenders other than Liu, favors modifying stop-and-frisk to make it less intrusive to the young black and Latino males who, as a group, are most frequently affected by it. Liu is the only candidate in favor of an outright ban on the practice.
Afterward, Liu was surrounded by reporters who asked if he regretted invoking Thompson's son in his argument. He said he didn't.
At that moment, an older black woman from the audience walked up and loudly declared that Liu was right and Thompson was wrong. Reporters turned toward her, capturing the spontaneous validation of Liu's position.
"We appreciate your statement," the woman said. "We want to stop stop-and-frisk in our community."
She went on praise Liu because "You had the guts to stand up in front of all our colleagues and say that we need to stop stop-and-frisk."
She also suggested requiring police to have cameras and microphones attached to their uniforms "so we can have a detailed record of exactly what happens during a stop-and-frisk."
"I'm sorry Thompson did not come along with you," she added.
Later, I spotted the woman standing on the steps in front of the church. She told me her name was Linda Guillebeaux, that she's a resident of Jamaica, and that she has a PhD. in theology.
"We expected Thompson to understand and to relate to what's happening in our community," Guillebeaux said. "Obviously he doesn't. Liu is more connected because he understands that this is an abysmal practice and a policy that cannot be legislated. You can't fix it."
I asked Guillebaeux why she thought Thompson, the only black candidate for mayor, might be taking his position on stop-and-frisk.
"I don't want to say, but I heard he's on Bloomberg's team and he's with Christine Quinn and they're, like, together," she said. "Bloomberg's a billionaire. I'm sure maybe he gave him some money."
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