As he often does, Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked critics of the New York City Police Department and defended the department's controversial stop-and-frisk practice Friday. But one comment in particular drew widespread outrage, particularly from those running to succeed him. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It was a provocative statement, to say the least.
"I think we disproportionately stop whites too much, and minorities too little," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show Friday.
Bloomberg again disputed the claims of critics that the New York City Police Department's stop, question and frisk policy unfairly targets minorities.
"It's exactly the reverse of what they say," Bloomberg said. "I don't know where they went to school, but they certainly didn't take a math course, or a logic course."
Almost immediately, critics pounced.
"I just found it to be an incredibly insulting moment," said former Comptroller William Thompson, a Democratic candidate for mayor.
"It's out of touch, it's insensitive, and I dare say it is hurtful to people all over the city," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Democratic candidate for mayor.
Bloomberg said statistics are on his side, pointing out that 90 percent of murder suspects last year were black or Latino, while blacks and Latinos accounted for just 87 percent of police stops. Whites, meanwhile, made up 7 percent of murder suspects but 9 percent of stops.
"People say, 'Well, cops shouldn't be stopping so many of any one group," Bloomberg said. "That's not the cop's, cop's job is to stop so many of groups fitting the description."
Opponents noted that of the 533,000 people stopped last year, 90 percent were neither arrested nor ticketed.
"Stop-and-frisk is being used with an incredibly broad brush, and the best evidence in the world is the vast majority of those stopped are innocent," de Blasio said.
"The mayor's comments seem to indicate that if you're black or Latino, you're automatically a murder suspect in the city of New York," Thompson said.
While Thompson and de Blasio were making the most noise Friday, all of the Democratic candidates for mayor have said they'd reform stop-and-frisk, with City Comptroller John Liu even going as far as to say he'd eliminate the practice altogether.
"Stop-and-frisk has gotten out of control in this city," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democratic candidate for mayor.
Quinn, meanwhile, helped push through two bills this week aimed at reining in the NYPD. The mayor will continue pressing his case publicly in hopes the council will let his veto of those bills stand.