The NYPD’s recently retired chief of department defended its controversial stop-and-frisk program Tuesday, testifying that the huge spike in stops during recent years had made the city much safer.
Former four-star Chief Joseph Esposito acknowledged a sevenfold increase in stops between 2004 and 2011, when the annual number jumped from about 97,000 to more than 685,000, but insisted it led to a big drop in crime.
“That’s all on your watch?” plaintiffs’ lawyer Jonathan Moore asked.
“Yes, it is,” Esposito answered. “As is the 40 percent drop in crime during the same period. And the 80 percent decline in the last 20 years.”
During later questioning by city lawyer Heidi Grossman, Esposito noted that “a lot of guns” had been seized through stop-and-frisk, helping push the number of city shootings to “record lows.”
Esposito, who retired last month, also said he believed the program had prevented countless crimes from occurring.
He cited the hypothetical example of a crook who decides to move on after cops stop him for apparently casing a location.
But Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin refused to let Esposito offer other examples, saying she wouldn’t permit testimony about “possible” situations.
Scheindlin previously ruled that the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk is irrelevant to the case, in which plaintiffs represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights claim that cops systematically target blacks and Hispanics for illegal stops.
Republished with permission of The New York Post