Surging liberal New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio released an ad on Monday opposing the city police force’s “stop and frisk” policy, saying he worries his own son would be a target of the stops.
De Blasio, who is white and is married to a black woman, says in the TV ad that he and his wife have counseled their teen son that he could be stopped by New York City police officers and searched.
“Chirlane and I have talked to Dante many times about the fact that some day he will be stopped,” De Blasio says in the 30-second ad.
He says that even though “hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers” do not know what it is like to be stopped and searched by police, he and his family understand the experience.
A federal judge recently ruled that the city’s "stop and frisk" program is unconstitutional because it leads to “indirect racial profiling.”
The city is appealing the decision and says that stopping and searching millions of predominantly black and Hispanic people has led to a big drop in violent crime in the city under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure. City officials also say the program does not discriminate based on race, but that random police searches are conducted in high-crime neighborhoods in New York, which have more minority residents.
De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has said he would fire and replace Police Commissioner Ray Kelly if elected.
De Blasio, who recently surged in polls to take a surprise lead over City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the crowded Democratic field, has featured his 15-year-old son, Dante, in a previous campaign ad. In that ad, Dante said his father is "the only Democrat with the guts to really break from the Bloomberg years" and "end an era of stop-and-frisk that unfairly targets people of color."
The spotlight on his family distinguishes De Blasio from other candidates on the trail, including trailing candidate Anthony Weiner. De Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, has been open about the fact that she was a lesbian before she met her husband.