The only African-American candidate in the race, Thompson generated a great deal of coverage and support for his impassioned speech invoking the Trayvon Martin tragedy as proof that racial profiling must end. But Thompson, who has been endorsed by some law-enforcement unions, has opposed a council bill that would create an inspector general to provide oversight of the NYPD on the issue, a fact that has provided an opening for his opponents. With only a few points separating him and de Blasio, according to the latest polls, today’s stop-and-frisk ruling could be a turning point.
Winner: Communities of Color
According to the New York Civil Liberties Union:
Young black and Latino men were the targets of a hugely disproportionate number of stops. Though they account for only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 40.6 percent of stops in 2012. The number of stops of young black men neared the entire city population of young black men (133,119 as compared to 158,406). More than 90 percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent.
Thanks to the stop-and-frisk ruling, hopefully that will change.
Loser: Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
Kelly has enjoyed so much popularity in his years as police commissioner that at one time it was rumored he was being drafted to run for mayor. But Kelly has never expressed an interest in being a politician, although it was recently reported that he would consider an appointment or Cabinet-level position in government. It was reported that the Obama administration was considering him as a possible replacement for retiring Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. But thanks to his unwavering support of stop and frisk, and the court’s ruling questioning its unconstitutionality, an appointment in the Obama administration just went from long shot to no shot.
Occasionally civil liberties groups are dismissed as being headline-seeking defenders of white supremacists who want to march in a parade, or other undesirables. But the New York Civil Liberties Union’s leadership and advocacy on ending stop and frisk was reminiscent of the work of civil rights groups to dismantle unfair laws at the height of the civil rights movement.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.