New York mayor Mike Bloomberg recently defended his controversial "stop and frisk" policy, which allows police to stop and search people on the street without cause. The policy, said the mayor, "should be mended, not ended."
On The Ed Show Monday, Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union said the NYPD's approach is racially biased.
"The NYPD isn’t stopping suspected criminals, they're stopping suspected black and Latino people," said Lieberman. "And that’s racial profiling and its illegal."
In response, the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald denied that race is involved.
"Race has nothing to do with the way the NYPD developed its tactics," said Mac Donald. "It's going into neighborhoods where people are being most victimized by crime. That crime is what drives where the police go. And nothing has had as large an effect in saving minority lives as the New York Proactive Policing."
But Lieberman said stop and frisk doesn't just happen in heavily minority neighborhoods.
"It's not just in communities of color, unfortunately, black and Latino people are profiled wherever they go in the city," Lieberman pointed out. "In Park Slope, which has a vast majority of white people, blacks and Latinos constitute way more than a majority that are stopped and frisked. The same is true in the West Village in Manhattan. So this isn’t about communities with high populations of color. This is about a policy that follows black and Latino people wherever they go in the city. And it's about stopping them and throwing them up against the wall whether they’ve done something wrong or not."