Eric Holder turns DOJ attention towards Mayor Bloomberg, Ray Kelly over ‘stop and frisk’
The lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s program of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people came to a close this week after pending for five years, four months and 12 days.
Literally at the midnight hour, as the clock ticked down to that final deadline, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder put Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on notice that the Justice Department was going to intervene in the case.
Holder stated that his civil rights lawyers would file papers telling the presiding judge that the feds favored putting the Police Department under a federal monitor should the judge find stop-and-frisk unconstitutional.
Holder offered the mayor of America’s largest city and the country’s most respected law enforcement professional no “fair” opportunity to respond. Despite objections, agreed to delay a decision overnight, purportedly for further thought.
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez notified City Hall the next day that the feds would go ahead exactly as planned and enter into the record a brief that, obviously, had been long in secret preparation.
The DOJ’s move seemed to shock the Mayor, the police department head and their supporters.
“It’s a disgrace,” Rep. Pete King was saying Thursday. “Ray Kelly has taken more guns off the street in his time as commissioner than any background check ever could. Kelly also happens to have done it with respect to civil rights, despite what his critics want you to believe.”