Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota says City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's support for an independent police monitor is "reckless," "dangerous" and "redundant."
Lhota made the comments about Quinn, a Democrat who is also seeking to be mayor, from a prepared text while standing next to a super-sized printout of New York Police Department CompStat numbers.
"The police department needs to maintain a laser-like focus in the reduction of crime," Lhota said. "We can't allow reckless behavior like putting a handcuff on the police department, which is what the inspector general bill will do."
A supporter of NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, Lhota said that he would expect the NYPD to regularly train officers on how to use what he described as a constitutional practice.
The candidate praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commisioner Ray Kelly for their leadership on crime reduction, but also pointed to a spike in felony crimes between 2011 and 2012, which he highlighted on the board next to him. Lhota argued that public safety in the city is in too fragile a state to consider putting in place another level of bureaucracy on the police department.
Lhota also pushed back against a reporter when he was asked about former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's alleged support of a police inspector general in 1993. Lhota, who served as Giuliani's deputy mayor, said that the former mayor only said that he would think about establishing an independent monitor.
"Go back and look at candidate Giuliani's quote where he said, ‘I might consider it,'" Lhota said. "He did not support one."
Lhota pointed to Giuliani's court battle with then Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr. over an independent monitor bill, which the Council lost. Less than an hour after Lhota's press event, the speaker's office sent out an email to reporters with five press clips referring to Giuliani's comments on an inspector general.
When reached for a response to Lhota's claims, Quinn's office forwarded letters of support for an inspector general bill from three former corporation counsels of New York City and the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.