Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson after the prosecutor threatened to toss out certain trespassing cases in public housing because of the controversy over the NYPD's stop and frisk policy.
Earlier this month, one of Johnson's top aides caused a commotion in law enforcement when she said the office wouldn't prosecute criminal trespass cases in public housing areas unless officers came in for an interview and justified the arrest.
Assistant District Attorney Jeannette Rucker said people arrested in the housing areas had complained about being charged by aggressive officers who had stopped, questioned and then arrested them for trespassing in places they lived or were lawfully visiting.
But Bloomberg said the decision by Bronx prosecutors was wrongheaded, particularly since crime rates are high in the public housing projects.
"If you want to bring crime back to New York, this is as probably a good a way to start doing it," Bloomberg said Thursday.
"We haven't been able to get one example, as I understand it, of people who have complained. So I think the district attorney should take another look at what he is doing," Bloomberg continued. "Our police officers have to make judgments all the time. They don't sit in an office and have the benefit of rethinking and doing things at a leisurely pace."
"In terms of what the district attorney is doing, it is going in the wrong direction," he said.
Johnson responded through a spokesman: "All we are doing is making sure that there are no gaps in the communication of necessary information. The officers are answering our questions and we're making the judgments that we were hired to make."
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday that a police inquiry showed that Rucker's estimation of the issue "was in error" and overstated problems regarding criminal trespass arrests.
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