Republicans and right-wing pundits have been strongly defending New York City’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” program in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling that the policy violated the constitutional rights of those targeted by it.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki joined Morning Joe Tuesday, where he insisted the policy doesn’t constitute racial profiling.
“If Holder and Obama want to investigate a police department, why don’t they look at Chicago?” he asked.
“I think the judge is completely off base in saying this is racially profiling,” he also said. “If you’re going to be stopping people who your years of experience and training on the street tell you should be asked a question about what they’re up to, I think that’s a commendable thing. It’s not racial profiling, it’s trying to prevent crime.”
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, an independent who’s always defended the program against critics, pushed back strongly against the ruling.
“Crime can come back anytime the criminals think that they’re going to get away with things,” he said. “We just cannot let that happen.”
New York City Mayoral Candidate Joe Lhota made the same point on Fox News, arguing that ending the program would lead to increased crime rates in the city.
“The single act along is enough to cause it to go in another direction,” he said. “It’s another step closer to making New York City like Detroit.”
Lhota was far from the only one on Fox defending the program, as various hosts and pundits picked up on the same line of reasoning.
Host Gretchen Carlson argued that “People who line in these so-called bad, poor neighborhoods that Mayor Bloomberg was talking about, that they’re actually against the judge’s decision.”
Laura Ingraham said the judge who made the decision “should move into Bed-Stuy or up in some of the difficult areas of Staten Island where this has saved lives.”
Sunita Patel, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who filed the lawsuit against the policy, insists that’s not the case.
“[The policy] is harming the NYPD’s ability to work with the community to fight crime,” she said on Monday’s PoliticsNation.
Barbara Arwine of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law agrees.
“It’s what I call this whole thing about being a precarious American, where you get de-Americanized by these policies that say ‘Oh you’re black, so you’re not entitled to the full constitutional protections under the 4th and 14th Amendments,” she said. “I think that’s what beautiful about what the judge has done here, is that he’s focused on the humanity of all the people and that the constitution applies to all people. That you can’t have these race based programs and you can’t stigmatize people.”
“This is a great ruling,” she added. “I think it’s one of the most important rulings in the criminal justice and racial justice area in years.”