Mayor Bloomberg lined up the NYCLU in his crosshairs yesterday and blasted the organization with both triggers. During a visit to the Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Queens, the mayor delivered a speech addressing the wave of violence that gripped the city in recent weeks, hitting its nadir with the shooting of 3-year-old Isaiah Rivera in a Bed-Stuy playground. After discussing his administration's efforts to reduce crime and get guns off the streets, Bloomberg turned to the NYCLU, which has filed a lawsuit to stop the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy:
Let’s be clear, the NYCLU’s priority is not protecting our safety. It is protecting their ideology. And in that regard, they are no better than the NRA. One group views the Second Amendment in absolutist terms; the other group views the Fourth Amendment in absolutist terms. Both groups, I think, are dangerously wrong on the Constitution. The right to bear arms and the right to privacy do not trump the right of citizens to walk down their own street, or walk down their own hallway, without getting blown away. You’d think that would be common sense!
In response, NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman fired off a statement saying, "It's a lot easier to trash the NYCLU than to acknowledge the widespread dissatisfaction the community feels with an NYPD that acts like it's above the law and accountable to no one. Today, more than 1,800 New Yorkers will be stopped and frisked by NYPD officers. Tomorrow, more than 1,800 New Yorkers will be stopped and frisked by NYPD officers. The day after that, more than 1,800 New Yorkers will be stopped and frisked by NYPD officers. Every day this year, more than 1,800 New Yorkers will be stopped and frisked by NYPD officers.
"This is not about an argument between the mayor and the NYCLU. This is about the humiliation, frustration and disrespect felt by New Yorkers from communities of color every day as they are subject to the mayor's stop-and-frisk regime." Lieberaman also wondered why the mayor is singling out the NYCLU, when many other organizations and leaders have criticized stop-and-frisk. The Center for Constitutional Rights, for instance, has also filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of four plaintiffs who say they were unlawfully stopped by police.