John Liu, the New York City comptroller and one of the Democratic candidates vying to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said Sunday that he was opposed to a plan proposed by some of his rivals this week to establish an inspector general to oversee the New York Police Department, which has come under fire for its use of the controversial policing tactic known as “stop and frisk.”
City lawmakers reached a tentative deal on Tuesday to pass a bill that would establish an inspector general to oversee the NYPD. The proposal came as a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD was unfolding in dramatic fashion in federal court in Manhattan, with witnesses who had themselves been stopped and frisked breaking down on the stand, whistleblower cops testifying against the NYPD, and even secretly recorded conversations with commanding officers who seemed to suggest that there were quotas for issuing summonses, and that skin color could be used as a factor in deciding who to stop.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, widely seen as the front-runner in the mayoral race, supports the legislation, as do two of her opponents, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former comptroller Bill Thompson. Liu said not only that he opposed the establishment of an inspector general, but that as mayor he would personally direct the police commissioner to abolish the practice of “stop and frisk” altogether.
“I supported, last year, when the council members proposed what was called a ‘Community Safety Act,’ which was a package of four bills, one of which included this inspector general thing. But really, the more you think about it, the less sense an inspector general actually makes,” Liu said. “It’s not like the mayor doesn’t talk with the police commissioner. At the end of the day if I’m mayor, I’m going to be directing the police commissioner not to undertake tactics that I think are undemocratic and un-American.”