Wall Street Journal
July 2, 2013


Mayor Warns on Stop-and-Frisk

Bloomberg to Campaign Against Candidates Supporting Bills Addressing Stop-and-Frisk Tactics

By Michael Howard Saul

Mayor Michael Bloomberg threatened on Monday to campaign against City Council members who supported two bills aimed at addressing the New York Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk tactic.

Mr. Bloomberg, a multibillionaire, didn't specify exactly what he would do to influence the upcoming elections of council members who approved legislation to create an inspector general for the NYPD and another bill that allows racial-profiling lawsuits to be filed in state court.

"We should all support candidates that we agree with," Mr. Bloomberg said. "We'll see what I'm going to do. The bottom line is I make no bones about it. I'm telling you I'm going to support those candidates. I'm certainly going to talk about it."

"Some of these things are life and death issues like these two horrendous bills in the City Council, and they are going to put our police officers at risk and they're going to put the public at risk," he added.

"And I've got an obligation to tell people that."

Mr. Bloomberg has promised to veto both bills.

Supporters of the legislation said they will override those vetoes. The council needs 34 votes to override a mayoral veto, which means on the racial-profiling bill the mayor needs only one council member to switch positions or fail to show up for the override vote.

Last fall, the mayor created a super PAC to back candidates around the country who favor gun control, stronger schools and same-sex marriage.

The mayor has previously expressed reservations about using his personal fortune, estimated by Forbes at $27 billion, to influence this year's municipal elections.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Democratic candidate for mayor, said, "Mayor Bloomberg is wrong on the substance of the racial-profiling bill. He's wrong in his approach to stop and frisk, but, now, what's even worse is he's going to use his wealth and his power to once again try to undermine the Democratic process."

NYPD officers have made more than five million stops—many of which led to frisks—since Mr. Bloomberg took office in 2002.

The policy has been the target of fierce criticism because more than 85% of those stopped were either black or Latino, and nearly 90% were released without being charged.

The police unions have also stepped up efforts to apply pressure on council members.

On Tuesday, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association plans to distribute fliers criticizing Council Members Jessica Lappin and Daniel Garodnick, both Manhattan Democrats who represent the East Side, for supporting the bills.

The flier says that Ms. Lappin and Mr. Garodnick "claim to represent your best interests, yet they voted for two bills that will make policing tougher and your neighborhoods more dangerous."

Ms. Lappin said she was proud to support the bills to "help rein in constitutionally questionable stop and frisks."

"Contrary to the PBA's hyperbole," she said, "these bills will not hinder the NYPD's ability to continue to keep our neighborhoods safe."

Mr. Garodnick didn't return a request for comment.

Write to Michael Howard Saul at michael.saul@wsj.com