Quinn vows to court backing for judge's stop-and-frisk ruling
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Sunday said she will file legal papers supporting a federal judge's finding that the city's stop-and-frisk practice is unconstitutional and opposing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's request for a suspension of the ruling.
"It's an insult to the hundreds of thousands of people -- particularly the hundreds and thousands of young men of color -- who have been needlessly stopped every year on our streets, to have a stay in this case," Quinn said at a news conference at City Hall.
Bloomberg has filed for a suspension of U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin's Aug. 12 ruling, which found that stop-and-frisk amounted to "indirect" racial profiling and called for an independent NYPD monitor and police body cameras, among other changes.
"We are confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal and the appeal should be heard," Bloomberg spokeswoman Samantha Levine said in a statement Sunday.
Quinn said any delay in implementing the court-directed changes would hurt the city.
Quinn, a mayoral contender, said she will submit her papers to the federal court Tuesday -- one week after Bloomberg asked Scheindlin for a stay and one week before the Democratic primary.
She said the Center for Constitutional Rights had advised her that the legal declaration would help the effort to stop Bloomberg's court action.
Quinn Sunday said her filing is not politically motivated. "The timing here is based on the court's action and the city's action," she said.
But an opponent, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, criticized her. Quinn's filing is "a desperate attempt to distract attention from her eight-year record of standing with Mayor Bloomberg and [NYPD Commissioner] Ray Kelly as the overuse and abuse of stop-and-frisk exploded," de Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers said in a statement.
The campaign of the third top-polling Democratic candidate, Bill Thompson, did not respond to a request for comment.
De Blasio leads the Democratic field of mayoral hopefuls, with 29 percent support among Democrats likely to vote in the Sept. 10 primary, according to an amNewYork-News 12 poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland. Thompson is next with 24 percent, and Quinn trails with 17 percent.
Quinn announced the filing alongside Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), co-sponsor of two City Council measures intended to reform stop-and-frisk. Quinn supports one law, to create an inspector general of the NYPD, but not the other, to make it easier to sue police officers for bias-profiling. De Blasio supports both, and Thompson supports neither.
Quinn's filing will be accompanied by similar legal declarations from Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan), co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, and Councilwoman Helen D. Foster (D-Bronx), chair of the Committee of State and Federal Legislation, Quinn said.