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Over at the City Journal website, my friend Heather Mac Donald expresses her concern that all of the hard-fought gains in the fight against crime in New York City may soon be undone under the stewardship of new mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. de Blasio has elected to discontinue the city’s appeal of Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling from last August, in which the judge found that the NYPD used racially discriminatory tactics in implementing its “stop-and-frisk” policy. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had already stayed Judge Scheindlin’s ruling and removed her from the case, finding her impartiality to be in doubt. Thus the city was already well on its way to prevailing in the case, yet Mr. de Blasio has now made the choice to surrender.
What I find mystifying is how William Bratton, Mr. de Blasio’s choice for commissioner of the NYPD, has organized his thoughts in such a way as to allow himself to work for the new mayor in the first place. Given the restrictions placed on the department by Scheindlin’s order, to say nothing of the added levels of bureaucracy, maintaining the low levels of crime that have characterized recent years will be a difficult task.
Mr. Bratton has succeeded in lowering crime in every department he has headed, including my own LAPD and in a previous stint in New York. He is preoccupied with nothing so much as his own reputation and celebrity, both of which will suffer if crime rises in New York. If crime does rise, as Heather Mac Donald fears, look for Mr. Bratton to jump ship before he can be blamed.