New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is so against two recently passed City Council bills — one of which creates an NYPD inspector general, while the other allows people to sue the department for racial profiling — that he’s attempting to explain away the whole underlying issue. “These are bad bills,” he said on the radio today. “The racial profiling bill is just so unworkable. Nobody racially profiles.” No. Body.
In fact, “There is this business, there’s one newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying, ‘Oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group,’” he said of stop-and-frisk. “That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
His comments echo those of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly last month: “It makes no sense to use census data, because half the people you stop would be women,” Kelly argued. “African-Americans are being understopped in relation to the percentage of people being described as being the perpetrators of violent crime. The stark reality is that a crime happens in communities of color.”
Bloomberg’s phrasing, meanwhile, is reminiscent of his homelessness denials — “Nobody’s sleeping on the streets” — and dismissiveness toward medical marijuana, which he called “one of the great hoaxes of all time.” The man has a way with hyperbole.
The reality is that of over half a million stops in 2012, people of color made up 87 percent. The year prior, 168,126 black men ages 14 to 24 were stopped and frisked, although only 158,406 young black men lived in the city — that’s 106 percent of the population. And as City Councilman Brad Lander noted today, “Math for @MikeBloomberg: Of those stopped, 58% of blacks & Latinos were frisked. Only 44% of whites. But whites have guns twice as often.”