Republican Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota called on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to drop her support for an inspector general to oversee the police department, attempting to position himself as the law and order candidate in the race for City Hall. NY1's Grace Rauh has the story.
Former MTA Chairman and Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota demanded Monday that his Democratic counterpart in the race for City Hall, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, drop her support for legislation that would create an inspector general for the NYPD.
"I can't tell you how reckless and dangerous I believe her support of this bill actually is," he said.
Lhota said the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be keeping tabs on the police department. He said the council is shirking its responsibility by promoting an inspector general to do that work.
"The City Council, as I said, is abdicating its responsibility. It has subpoena power. It has review power. It has, within the City Charter, the right to do this," Lhota said. "To create a whole new layer of bureaucracy, I think, is dangerous and reckless."
Last month, Quinn came out in favor of a plan to establish an inspector general for the department. She had been criticized on the campaign trail for suggesting NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly would remain police commissioner if she was elected.
A spokesman for Quinn said the bill would do nothing to limit the NYPD's ability to do its job. He also noted that after an inspector general began keeping tabs on the police department in Los Angeles, crime dropped 33 percent.
Lhota also defended the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk to patrol the streets. He said the tactic is simply misunderstood.
"I do think it's important, as part of the education process, for people in all communities of the city to understand the role that stop, question and frisk plays," he said.
Lhota's remarks come as the police department's stop-and-frisk policies are on trial in federal court in Lower Manhattan. His comments triggered an emotional backlash from elected officials who are among the most vocal critics of the department.
"That's kind of insulting," Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams said. "There is no confusion about what is happening in these communities. There is no confusion that what's been happening is divisive and eroding trust. There is no confusion about that at all."
But Lhota said New Yorkers need to have a better understanding of how stop-and-frisk is being used -- and why.