During his radio commentary on Tuesday, CNN anchor Don Lemon partially defended the controversial NYPD policy of “stop-and-frisk,” asking its critics whether they’d rather put “political correctness” above safety.RELATED: Appeals Court Offers a Golden Opportunity on Stop and Frisk
Lemon branded today’s New York mayoral election as “one of the most important races in the world” because it could mean the elimination of the controversial police procedure. He added that the policy should normally be called “stop-question-and-frisk,” but the “question” part often gets left out.
“[I]f you question many people in New York City, even some black and Hispanic people,” Lemon claimed, “they will tell you that on the surface they don’t really have an issue with stop-question-and-frisk. Not the idea of it, at least. Not if the controversial policy was conducted like the occasional, random airport screening.”
Lemon noted that minorities want to believe that officers would stop someone and “politiely” say, “Sir, I’m sorry, but I need to check your bag and your person,” but, he lamented, “they know that that’s not the reality of things on the street.”
“They know that in reality they will probably be ordered to put their hands up, spread their legs, or lay on the ground and be handcuffed while an officer or officers have their ways with them,” the CNN host said, “touching them wherever they’d like or handling them however they’d like.”
Lemon asserted that there are many among the minority community who believe “in theory” that “we’d rather be inconvenienced by being stopped by police than shot by gun-wielding criminals on the street.” However, he said, it’s become too easy for police to become “so drunk with power that they abuse it.”
“So goes New York City, so goes the rest of the country,” he said of stop-and-frisk, adding his suggestion that if a new mayor “alters the equation of the formula that has reduced crime in New York City to its lowest in decades,” it could result in the “creeping back up” of crime rates, the reduction in tourism, and the suffering of “international consequences.” He posited that other major cities could follow suit.
“Whatever the mayor here decides will be reflected in your city, reflected in your crime rate, and in your economy,” Lemon concluded. “So the question is: would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive? That’s the real issue facing the citizens of New York and, pretty soon, ultimately you.”