New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose stop-and-frisk law was recently struck down as unconstitutional on grounds that it violated fourth amendment rights and “adopted a policy of ‘indirect racial profiling,’” wants to have the 600,000 people living in New York City housing projects fingerprinted as a “crime-prevention measure.”
Bloomberg made the call for the over-invasive measure during a radio address last week, on the very day stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional, and said that people in housing projects wanted “more police protection.” He further added that “If you have strangers walking in the halls of your apartment building, don’t you want somebody to stop and say: ‘Who are you, why are you here?’ . . . What we should really have is fingerprinting to get in.”
What Bloomberg is calling for here is the unwarranted and outright profiling of people who may be unfamiliar to a high-crime area. The fingerprinting measure is simply a less direct and physical approach to what stop-and-frisk did.
Shortly after the address, there was a firestorm of opposition and criticism. Former New York City comptroller and prospective mayoral candidate Bill Thompson came forth and said “Just like stop-and-frisk, this is another direct act of treating minorities like criminals. . . Bloomberg wants to make New Yorkers feel like prisoners in their own homes.”
Another mayoral hopeful, Bill de Blasio, also criticized Bloomberg, saying that the new, proposed tactic shows that the current mayor is “out of touch.”
President of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Sherrilyn Ifill vehemently protested against the notion of having another city provision that echoes the discrimination present in stop-and-frisk.
“Families live in public housing projects, not criminals,” said Ifill. “Public housing residents, as well as their friends and family members visiting them, deserve the same level of respect from our mayor as any other New York City resident.”