How Thompson readjusted his stance with a speech in Brooklyn
Here's Bill Thompson's full 16-minute speech on race and politics, which included references to Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin and the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy.
Thompson delivered the speech at a black church in Prospect Heights on Sunday afternoon. In the speech, he said, "Here in New York City, we have institutionalized Mr. Zimmerman's suspicion with a policy that all but requires our police officers to treat young black and Latino men with suspicion; to stop them and frisk them because of the color of their skin."
The speech was an opportunity for Thompson, the former comptroller and only black candidate in the race, to reposition himself in the public safety debate after seeing Democratic rivals outflank him on his left, and he was criticized by Al Sharpton for not supporting two NYPD oversight bills that recently passed the Council with veto-proof majorities but were strongly opposed by the mayor and police commissioner. (A number of law enforcement unions that opposed the bill endorsed Thompson.)
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio supports both bills and notes he is the only candidate to do so. City Comptroller John Liu, who once challenged Thompson to join him in calling for what he describes as a complete ban on stop-and-frisk, supports the racial profiling bill, but not the inspector general bill, saying it doesn't go far enough.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has indicated that she'd offer Ray Kelly the opportunity to stay on as police commissioner if she's elected, came out in favor of the inspector general bill, but not the racial profiling bill. She also said recently that there was no correlation between stop-and-frisk rates and the city's crime rate.