We the People: Primary Day is around the corner

It’s not over until … it’s over.

A recent Quinnipiac College poll made Bill de Blasio the front runner in the Democratic mayoral primary. The survey reflected that he would win 36 percent of the vote, Christine Quinn, 21 percent, and Bill Thompson, 20 percent of the vote.

This stunning surge by Mr. de Blasio is significant since the primary is on September 10 and a win with 40 percent of the vote would avoid a run-off election. Election law requires a mayoral candidate to garner at least 40 percent of the vote in a primary or the top candidates run against each other in a run-off election.

Could it be that Mr. de Blasio will outright win the Democratic primary? Will there be a run-off showdown between de Blasio and Quinn or Thompson? Whatever choice is presented to voters in the primary election, it is vitally important for Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights Democrats to mark September 10, 2013 on their calendars.

Republican mayoral candidate, John Catsimatidis, circulated “scare” literature describing the Community Safety Act, passed by the City Council over the veto of Mayor Bloomberg, as a “Blindfold on Our Police.”

He missed an opportunity to give people information about the law and to explain possible untoward consequences of the legislation. The judiciary is a better champion to protect individual civil liberties. It can and has curbed alleged and actual abuses of citizens by law enforcement. The judiciary has experience and a historical mandate to be a “cop” for the cops, but even it has trouble with the issues of stop and frisk.

A split panel of the Supreme Court Appellate Division reversed a conviction of a person for gun possession. He was stopped by police officers on the stairway of a Housing Authority building in the Bronx.

The officers were on regular patrol walking up the stairs of a city building located in a high-crime area when a person walking down the steps “froze” and “jerked” away quickly like he was changing directions to flee from the officers. The person walking down the stairs could have continued down and past the officers but he acted in a way most people do not upon encountering a police officer.

The officers asked him to come downstairs and he complied. They asked him if he lived in the building and he started going through his pockets to find identification when the officers saw a gun and arrested him.

The trial judge found the police had enough reason to ask the person questions, the gun was not suppressed and the defendant was convicted but the appellate court found that the encounter did not give the officers the right to ask the man to come downstairs or to ask for basic information. The appellate court reversed the trial court and the conviction was vacated. Does the gentleman get his gun back if there is no retrial?

A case-by-case analysis of police behavior and suppression of evidence by the court system is a better way to redress alleged wrongs by police officers. The weight of public opinion has changed the NYPD stop and frisk policy already.

The numbers of stop and frisks have plummeted without a federal monitor or any of the Community Safety Act provisions. We need to let judges judge and legislators legislate because when the roles get reversed, the “solutions” generated can create greater problems.

D.A. Charles J. Hynes was stood up by challenger Ken Thompson who backed out of a scheduled debate with the veteran prosecutor in a forum sponsored by the Brooklyn Bar Association at the last minute.

The voters in Brooklyn will have the last word as to whom they will entrust to prosecute crimes and uphold the law in Brooklyn.

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