Weiner Criticizes Police Stops, but Offers No Alternative

Appearing before an African-American audience in Harlem on Saturday, Anthony D. Weiner criticized the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy as excessive and promised that, if he became mayor, he would not use the tactic “as a racial tool.” He did not say, however, precisely how he would otherwise change the policy.

The Democratic mayoral hopeful and former congressman spoke at the weekly rally hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton at the headquarters of his organization, the National Action Network, an important stop for all Democratic candidates for mayor.

Mr. Sharpton, in introducing Mr. Weiner, said that he had not yet decided whom he would support, saying, “I hear a lot of noise, but I’m not hearing a lot of policy, and I’m not hearing a lot of vision.” Mr. Sharpton has criticized the only African-American candidate in the race, the former comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., for not being outspoken enough on the stop-and-frisk issue.

Mr. Weiner described the number of stops – some 533,000 last year — as excessive, and said the tactic should not be used “against particular communities,” a reference to the fact that the vast majority of those stopped are young black and Hispanic men. Yet he gave little indication of how he would put that policy into effect. He has said in the past that he does not support creating an inspector general for the Police Department, as a bill before the City Council would do, though he did not bring up that stance on Saturday.

Mr. Weiner also suggested that there were circumstances where stops were justified.

“If there is a drug dealer in the yard of a public housing project, and he’s acting suspicious, and we’re getting calls to the police, and he’s showing signs that there’s reason to believe he’s doing something wrong, I want a police officer to tap that fellow on the shoulder, and if he’s a drug dealer I want him arrested and thrown out of the community — I want that to happen,” he said.

But “I believe you can fight crime without saying to police officers, ‘go out and get hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of stops,’” he said.

“And make no mistake: When you have a situation where 97, 98, 99 percent of the stops are resulting in no crime, no gun, no — no police report being submitted beyond just the 250 saying, ‘I stopped the guy,’ you’re a bad cop,” Mr. Weiner said, to applause from the audience. “You’re not doing your job.” (A 250 refers to the form that a police officer fills out after stopping someone. In fact, 12 percent of stops resulted in an arrest or summons, although guns were found in less than 0.2 percent of stops.)

“And if you have that many stops, and you’re not producing, or you’re not finding guns and other things, your supervisor, the sergeant, is a bad supervisor,” Mr. Weiner continued, raising his voice and shaking his finger. “And if that supervisor is allowing that to go on, you have a bad precinct captain. And if that captain is allowing it to go on, you have a bad commissioner, who’s not doing his job.”

“Now I like Ray Kelly, I think he’s a decent man,” he went on quickly. “But at a certain point you have to recognize, this is a policy of the Police Department to stop hundreds and hundreds, and hundreds of thousands of people as their way of trying to stop crime. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to stop police officers from doing their job, I want to help them do their job better. And that means not using stop-and-frisk as a racial tool, and that’s what I will do if I’m mayor.”

He ended by referring to his son, Jordan.

“I have a 17-month-old at home,” he said. “He lives a very nice life. I can say with some certainty, although he might get in trouble –” He paused and added, to laughter, “Being my son, I have a feeling he might.”

“He might get in some trouble,” he continued, “but I can tell you this: The chances of Jordan Zane Weiner getting stopped by a police officer when he’s 17 walking down the street are virtually zero, virtually zero.”

“Right!” some members of the audience shouted.

“He is going to be going to school with African-American kids, with Hispanic kids, with children of color, where he is going to be walking down the same street,” Mr. Weiner continued. “I want his buddies, his friends, from wherever they’re from, to say to each other, ‘Boy, am I glad that we made some smart decisions in 2013 — now neither one of us gets stopped just for walking down the street.’”

Mr. Sharpton, in introducing Mr. Weiner, dismissed the scandal that forced him to resign from Congress, after he was found to be exchanging sexually explicit messages with young women over Twitter. But Mr. Sharpton stumbled in introducing him, describing him as “the candidate for mayor, Congress-, ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner.”

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Get Ready for Some Big Destruction to Watch

Here’s something fun to do Sunday morning. Get up early and watch a building be imploded in your pajamas. That is — watch it in your pajamas. The building is not in your pajamas. It is on Governors Island.

It is 115 feet and 11 stories tall, made of brick, goes by the name Building 877 (though it used be called the Cunningham Apartments when it housed Coast Guard members and their families), stands at the south end of Governors Island and is the island’s tallest building.

On Sunday at 7:36 a.m., it is to be imploded — the first structure in New York City to be imploded by the authorities (hold your conspiracy theories, please) since July 2001, when a pair of 400-foot-tall natural-gas storage tanks were brought down in Brooklyn.

Building 877, erected in 1968 and vacant since 1996, will be cleared away to make room for a sports field.

Civilians will not be allowed on Governors Island to watch from up close, but the implosion will be visible from Battery Park in Manhattan, Liberty State Park in Jersey City and the Staten Island Ferry that leaves Staten Island at 7:30 a.m. It will also be televised, in the video player below.

The entire implosion, “from the word ‘go’ to the building coming down,” will take about 30 seconds, according to the Trust for Governors Island.


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Safety Agency Shuts Down Discount Bus Line

Passengers who paid $15 to ride Lucky Star buses between Chinatown in Manhattan and Boston were apparently lucky that they or their luggage did not fall onto Interstate 95 at high speed.

On Thursday, federal regulators, citing a variety of mechanical and operational violations, ordered the company that operated the Lucky Star fleet to take all 21 of its buses off the road immediately. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that, in one instance, the company dispatched a bus “that had an approximate 4 foot by 2 foot hole in the bottom of the motor coach and significant frame damage.” The agency cited Lucky Star separately for “rotted floors” in its buses.

In its order, the federal agency said “Lucky Star’s widespread and serious noncompliance” with federal safety laws posed an “imminent hazard” to the public. Inspectors found that 10 Lucky Star buses broke down a total of 80 times in a span of less than 13 months.

Lucky Star, which has operated since 2003, notified its customers of the shutdown on its Web site: “Per the order of USDOT, Lucky Star Bus has temporary ceased operations. All affected e-ticket customers will be receiving a refund automatically. Thanks!”

The shutdown came three months after the agency issued a similar order to one of Lucky Star’s main competitors, the Fung Wah bus service. The two lines had their New York bases about a block apart near the east end of Canal Street. Each charged $15 for a one-way ticket on a one-stop trip along Interstate 95 between New York and Boston.

The services have long been popular with college students and Chinese immigrants. But when federal inspectors began cracking down on discount intercity bus companies after some deadly crashes, they found that the low fares often came with poor maintenance and untrained drivers.

Discount fleets drew some business away from more established companies that pay rent for gates at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown. The competition led some of those companies to set up discount operations under other names.

For example, Greyhound Lines and Peter Pan Bus Lines teamed to create the Yo! Bus service, which offers trips between Chinatown and Boston for $15 to $25 each way. Yo! Bus also travels between New York and Philadelphia.

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