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Democratic Mayoral Candidates Debate Public Safety Issues

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The city's Democratic mayoral candidates tackled the subject of public safety in the campaign's first televised mayoral debate held Wednesday night at John Jay College and hosted by NY1 News. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Although the six Democratic candidates in NY1's Wednesday debate were not that far apart on many issues, there were some points of disagreement.

The debate, which featured City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller John Liu, former comptroller Bill Thompson, former Councilman Sal Albanese, and Pastor Erick Delgado, focused on public safety. One of the most controversial issues of the night was whether to end the current New York City Police Department practice of stop, question and frisk.

"Speaker Quinn, the fact is, you only moved on stop-and-frisk because there was tremendous public pressure," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. "You weren't willing to challenge Ray Kelly previously, and you only moved on Civilian Complaint Review Board because, again, other people were moving on the issue."

"Bill, you are engaged in revisionist history," Quinn responded. "What I said to you and Councilmember Garodnick is that the legislation you had to give the CCRB prosecutorial authority was not legally doable."

On Wednesday, Quinn said she opposes a City Council bill that would ban racial profiling and allow more lawsuits to move forward against the police department.

"Speaker Quinn says that racial profiling is prohibited in the city of New York," said City Comptroller John Liu. "Unfortunately, stop-and-frisk in New York City is the biggest form of systemic racial profiling we have anywhere in the United States of America, and it has to be ended."

Another topic that has sparked public debate is whether to appoint an inspector general to oversee the police. The candidates are split on whether to support it.

The issue is also tied to complaints in African-American and Latino neighborhoods that stop-and-frisk operations unfairly target people of color.

"If you had a mayor who said, 'Not in my watch. We are not going to have profiling, we are not going to have stop-and-frisk being misused,'" said former City Comptroller William Thompson. "If we had a police commissioner who understood that, we wouldn't have the problems right now."

The candidates were also asked about the Boston Marathon bombings, and whether or not anything different could be done in New York City to prevent those kinds of attacks. For the most part, the candidates did not propose anything radical or new, although Quinn did say she would like to see more mobile street cameras.

Your Call On Safety & The Mayoral Election

What question would you ask the candidates about public safety and the NYPD? Is there a candidate running who you feel is best suited to keep New Yorkers safe? Read New Yorkers' thoughts.

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