In an interview on CBS this morning, Mayor Bill deBlasio’s new police commissioner (as opposed to Rudy Giuliani’s old police commissioner) Bill Bratton made three points abundantly clear:
1. The NYPD Stop and Frisk program will continue, though he says cops need better training (because that reasonable and articulable suspicion part is way too hard to grasp).
2. The reason the program disproportionately impacts minorities is because that’s where the crime is.
The day after the mayoral election, I received a number of telephone calls from reporter friends asking if deBlasio’s election meant the stop & frisk appeal was a “dead issue,” since deBlasio ran for office on the promise of ending the program. I reminded them that people often run on a promise that somehow doesn’t manage to pan out when they finally get to wear the mayor hat.
When deBlasio picked Giuliani’s ex to be his PC, it might have been a clue that Bratton was an architect of the stop & frisk program, though people can change over the intervening decades. It appears that the new rhetoric will be a warmer, kinder stop and frisk, where cops will be directed to say “may I” as they throw young black men into walls face first in order to make their CompStat numbers.
Or as a cop friend explained to me a few days ago, the UF-250 forms will have better check off boxes so no matter how suspicionless a stop may be, it will appear constitutional under Bratton. And if those black kids complain about it, it’s because they’re liars and criminals. After all, why would a cop lie?
Yup, it’s all going to be different this time. That is all.