Target: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Goal: Apologize for comments calling US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin biased and ignorant in the wake of the stop-and-frisk ruling.
The recent ruling by US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin that NYPD’s interpretation of stop-and-frisk laws is unconstitutional prompted an outburst from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at City Hall. Judge Scheindlin made an important distinction in her 195-page ruling: she did not challenge the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk — only the manner of its implementation in New York City, which results in young men of color being disproportionately targeted for stops, a form of racial profiling which violates the civil liberties laid out in the 4th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.
Mayor Bloomberg immediately balked at the reforms ordered in Judge Scheindlin’s decision, which Commissioner Kelly called “‘unnecessary,'” and both city officials denounced the ruling, saying despite all evidence to the contrary that NYPD officers do not engage in racial profiling. Bloomberg insisted, without sufficient evidence, that a direct correlation existed between the drop in New York crime rates in the last decade and the stop-and-frisk practices of the police department. He went on to personally attack Judge Scheindlin because of his disapproval of her decision, calling her biased against stop-and-frisk and asserting that she “‘ignored the real-world realities of crime'” when in fact her ruling took into account the very facts that the mayor seemed determined to ignore. He maintained, again without sufficient evidence, that the decision would result in an explosion in crime in the city, essentially insinuating that Judge Scheindlin cares little not only for judicial neutrality, but also for the well-being of New York citizens.
Mayor Bloomberg’s comments betray a lack of respect for judicial oversight besides an alarming lack of concern for the racially-charged implementation of stop-and-frisk, going so far as to deny the facts on the issue. By signing this petition, you will demonstrate to Mayor Bloomberg that this treatment of our judges is unprofessional and irresponsible, as it shows disdain for the authority of the judicial branch and disrupts the legitimacy of our foundational system of checks and balances.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
I am highly disappointed in your recent remarks in the wake of the ruling on stop-and-frisk implementation in New York City. Your comments at City Hall calling Judge Scheindlin biased and ignorant not only neglect the statistical reality of unconstitutional racial profiling in stop-and-frisk procedures in the last decade, but also display an alarming disrespect for Judge Scheindlin’s and the entire judicial branch’s commitment to neutral oversight. As an official of the local government, it is your duty to uphold the legitimacy of authority of all branches, however you might privately disagree with official decisions, and to pursue appeals as you find them necessary in a professional capacity.
I am urging you to retract and apologize for your personal attacks on Judge Scheindlin. I am calling on you to acknowledge that the NYPD has engaged in racial profiling in its implementation of stop-and-frisk to this point, and to address this issue through the ordered reforms in order to create a better city for all citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michael Fleshman via Flickr