NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, left, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg hold a news conference on April 25.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Mayor Bloomberg yesterday cited the senseless murder of an innocent Bronx teen in launching his fiercest attack yet on the Democrats seeking to succeed him who refuse to admit that stop-and-frisk works.
Hizzoner also lashed out at The New York Times and civil-rights groups during an emotional, 22-minute address to NYPD brass at Police Headquarters.
“Last week, a Bronx resident named Alphonza Bryant was shot and killed while standing with friends near his home. He was 17. Like most murder victims in our city, he was a minority,” a frustrated Bloomberg told the crowd, which included Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
“He was just a victim of too many guns on our streets. After his murder, there was no outrage from the Center for Constitutional Rights or the NYCLU.
“There was not even a mention of his murder in our paper of record, The New York Times. ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ did not include the murder of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant.”
The teen, who was preparing for his prom and his graduation from the Urban Assembly Bronx Studio for Writers and Artists, was gunned down near his home in Foxhurst at 8:15 p.m. on April 22. A thug fired nine shots into the crowd. Police believe Bryant was not the intended target.
Bloomberg said it was exactly the kind of violent crime that stop-and-frisk prevents.
“If the NYPD conducted stops and intelligence gathering based on demographic data rather than real leads, guns would be everywhere in our city, thousands of New Yorkers who are alive today would be dead and terrorists may well have succeeded in attacking us again,” Bloomberg said.
“And yet some in the City Council and some mayoral candidates are supporting legislation that would push the NYPD in that direction.”
Bryant’s shattered mother said Bloomberg was absolutely right, and believes her son would be alive if the gunmen had been searched by police.
“If they would have stopped and frisked the guys who shot my son, maybe he would be alive today. We need stop-and-frisk. We need it to save our children’s lives,” a tearful Jenaii Van Doten, 46, told The Post after getting a tattoo of her son’s face on her right arm.
Van Doten, 46, said Alphonza himself had been recently stopped.
“They’re [cops] not beating these kids up, they’re trying to get the guns off of them. My kid was stopped and frisked last month. He didn’t have a gun. If he did, his ass should have been in jail,” she said.
Bloomberg lamented that “four days after Alphonza Bryant’s murder went unreported by the Times, the paper published another editorial attacking stop, question and frisk. They called it a ‘widely loathed’ practice, even though a growing number of mothers and fathers who have had their children murdered with guns have been speaking out in support of stop, question and frisk.
“Let me tell you now what I loathe. I loathe that 17-year-old minority children can be senselessly murdered in The Bronx and some of the media doesn’t even consider it news.”
Bloomberg accused the Times of a double standard, saying the paper would have played the news differently had the victim been wealthy and white.
The Bryant killing was covered by several New York media outlets, including The Post.
Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said, “The Times aggressively covers violence in the city’s neighborhoods, and to select one murder as evidence to the contrary is disingenuous.”
The NYCLU defended its lack of outrage over the shooting by taking a shot at Bloomberg.
“It’s a lot easier to trash the NYCLU than to acknowledge the widespread dissatisfaction the community feels with an NYPD that acts like it’s above the law and accountable to no one,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
Republished with permission of The New York Post.