Wednesday’s New York Times featured an interesting piece on New York mayoral candidate William C. Thompson Jr., specifically his “moderate” stance on the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policy. Mr. Thompson, alone among the Democrat candidates, has not joined the leftist chorus shouting for the tactic to be abandoned, which helps explain why he was endorsed by the United Uniform Workers of New York, a coalition of law-enforcement labor unions representing about 100,000 employees.
The stop-and-frisk policy is under attack, most notably in a trial currently underway in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Critics claim tirelessly that the policy places an inordinate burden on blacks and Hispanics, who are subjected to police stops and searches more often than whites. Proponents point to the dramatic drop in crime in New York City since the early 90s, arguing that proactive policing typified by the stop-and-frisk policy has removed armed and violent criminals from the streets and discouraged others from their predatory ways. (Heather Mac Donald has written extensively on the issue. See her pieces here, here, and here, for example.)
Mr. Thompson’s position on stop-and-frisk is perhaps calculated to earn him the title of Least Dangerous Democrat to law-and-order voters, the people who elected Rudy Giuliani with the mandate to clean up a city that came to be viewed as lawless and ungovernable under his predecessor, David Dinkins. Predictably, it has brought criticism from the grievance lobby, and just as predictably the Times went directly to Mr. Grievance himself, Al Sharpton, for a comment.
“I don’t think it’s wise to be distant from a social movement if you are going to run for mayor of this city, especially as a black candidate,” Mr. Sharpton told the Times. “I have expressed this to Thompson.”
Mr. Sharpton surely has influence with voters in New York, though not entirely in the manner he would wish. Mr. Thompson has determined there are more votes to be found without Mr. Sharpton’s support than with it.
— Jack Dunphy is an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. “Jack Dunphy” is the author’s nom de cyber. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.