Bloomberg invoked the toll of gun violence to defend stop-and-frisks, in which police stop, question and sometimes pat down people officers believe are acting suspiciously, but who may not meet the probable-cause standard for an arrest.
Police call the tactic a crucial crime-fighting tool that helps net illegal weapons, but it has spurred lawsuits and proposed legislation from critics who see the stops as unfair and racially suspect. The vast majority of those stopped are black and Hispanic.
‘‘I understand that innocent people don’t like to be stopped,’’ Bloomberg said. ‘‘But innocent people don’t like to be shot and killed, either.’’
The mayor’s remarks were an unwelcome surprise to City Councilman Jumaane Williams, an outspoken opponent of the city’s extensive use of the tactic.
‘‘He made it a point to double down on stop, question and frisk. ... It was like he was pushing it out there to try and taunt people,’’ Williams said later.
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