Stop-and-Frisk Ruling: Winners and Losers

The end of the controversial practice could also end some careers.

New York City Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
New York City Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

(The Root) — On Monday a federal judge ruled that the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program, which disproportionately targets young men of color, violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers. The ruling requires that an outside monitor be appointed to ensure that going forward, the NYPD’s practices are compliant with constitutional protections.

While civil rights activists celebrate the ruling, it will result in unfortunate political fallout for some. Below, a look at the winners and losers from the ruling.

Loser: Mayor Michael Bloomberg

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had emerged as stop and frisk’s most vocal cheerleader, championing it before anyone who would listen, including critics. The mayor went so far as to insinuate that the policy was not discriminatory enough, saying this in an interview:

There is this business, there’s one newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying, “Oh, it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.” That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.

A federal judge disagreed, leading the mayor to have an apparent tantrum at a press conference when asked about the ruling. His defense of stop and frisk will be a permanent black eye on Bloomberg’s legacy, one that he will likely come to regret. Much the way many Southern legislators eventually became embarrassed to have been on the wrong side of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, Mike Bloomberg will one day be embarrassed by having been on the wrong side of stop and frisk.

Winner: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio

De Blasio is currently locked in an incredibly close race for the Democratic mayoral nomination in New York. In a stroke of lucky timing, his campaign happened to launch an ad in which de Blasio’s biracial son (de Blasio is white and his wife is black) hails his father’s fight to end stop and frisk. De Blasio has one of the most progressive positions on the issue, vowing to end the practice and supporting two council bills aimed at reining in the practice, including one that would create the position of inspector general to monitor and supervise the NYPD on this issue. With the federal judge ruling in favor of such a requirement, de Blasio just got a major credibility boost on the issue.

Loser: Bill Thompson, Former Comptroller and Candidate for Mayor