The PJ Tatler

Former N.Y. and N.O. Mayors on Race and Crime, Police Diversity and Ferguson Response

Though he supports the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News Sunday that he believes African-Americans have a legitimate complaint about racial discrimination by police.

Host Chris Wallace cited polling that found 70 percent of African-Americans saying they feel treated less fairly than police treat whites, while 37 percent of whites said blacks are treated less fairly by cops.

“I do believe that there is more interaction and more unfair interaction among police officers, white and black, in the black community than in a white community. And I think some of that responsibility is on the police department. And on police departments to train their police officers better and to make their police departments much more diversified,” Giuliani said.

“But I think just as much if not more responsibility is on the black community to reduce the reason why the police officers are assigned in such large numbers to the black community. It’s because blacks commit murder eight times more per capita than any other group in our society.”

Giuliani said during his time in office he assigned police by statistics. “If I put all my police officers on Park Avenue and none in Harlem, thousands and thousands more blacks would have killed during the eight years that I was mayor,” he said.

“…If you want to work on the problem, you’ve got to work on both sides. When the president talked about training, he talked about training police. I’m all with him. Train the police and make them better. I tried it hard, we have a diverse police department in New York. You got to work on the other side of it, too. This is not a one-sided story and it is presented always as a one-sided story.”

Marc Morial, president of the Urban League and mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002, stressed in response to Giuliani that “about 84 percent of all whites are murdered by other whites.”

“And the concern about violence in the black community is pervasive. The advocacy, the rallies, the events that take place, it should be no mistake that black on black violence is not tolerated in the black community,” Morial told Fox.

The protests, he said, are due in large part to “the fact that we’ve had five high-profile incidents in this country in a short period of time, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Marlene Pinnock out in Los Angeles and now, the young boy down in — out in Cleveland. And combined with the fact that the number of killings of citizens by police is at a two-decade high, all of this is a perfect storm of events which means that there’s this response across the nation, peaceful protests for the most part, that says this must change.”

Morial brought up Giuliani’s support for the grand jury finding in the Wilson-Brown case,  and stressed that “in the Abner Louima case, in the Rodney King case, in the Danziger Bridge case in New Orleans, those are all cases where local prosecutors failed to either seek or secure an indictment or a conviction, where the federal government stepped in after the fact and secured justice for the victims.”

“The history is simply not good for local prosecutors and to some extent local police departments policing their own. That’s why this is a time for us to change how we handle these incidents, and I think at the first instance, I support body cameras, I think there ought to be a national accreditation system for police officers, I think every city should review their deadly force policy. I think that cities should also completely revise how they train. They have to re-evaluate how they hire police officers,” Morial continued.

“This is a time when we’ve got to promote positive change. And I might add, I led a city, New Orleans, at the same time Rudy led New York. We reduced crime by 60 percent. We did it with community policing, and we also had a significant reduction in civil rights complaints against police departments.”

Giuliani said he’s changed his mind on body cameras. “At one time, I thought they were a mistake. Now, I believe they are a very good idea, because 90 percent, 95 percent of these situations, the police officers turn out to be justified. And had this police officer had a body camera, we would not be having this discussion,” he said.

Giuliani also advocated stop-and-frisk “based on a reasonable cause to believe somebody’s committing a crime.”

Morial said stop-and-frisk used “selectively and in a targeted way is absolutely permissible and a valid police tool.”

“I think it’s better, if you will, to embrace a proactive, and this is the term, proactive policing system where police officers are out on the beat, where they’re building relationships with people in the community,” he said. “Because after all, the way you bring down crime in a community is not simply by making arrest, but by preventing crime from occurring. And that’s the essence of community policing. It focuses on prevention.”