Can any NYC mayoral candidate really end stop-and-frisk?

theGRIO REPORT - No matter who wins on September 10th, the question still remains: How much of an impact if any, can the next mayor have on reforming the now ruled unconstitutional policy that is stop-and-frisk?...

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New York’s Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is leading in the latest mayoral polls for the first time since the Democratic primary began, in part to his outspoken opposition to some aspects of stop-and-frisk, a stand out television commercial starring his son Dante, and the implosion of Anthony Weiner.

No matter who wins on September 10th, the question still remains: How much of an impact if any, can the next mayor have on reforming the now ruled unconstitutional policy that is stop-and-frisk?

De Blasio stands apart from the crowd in terms of his opposition to stop-and-frisk.  While he wouldn’t get rid of the policy if elected, he’s as it stands the lone candidate among the big three, that is calling for substantial reforms to the policy.

De Blasio has advocated for a bill that’s now before the City Council that would ban racial profiling in the invasive stops by the police on the street.

“The legislation to ban racial profiling was put forward to send an absolute clear message that it wouldn’t be tolerated anymore by the NYPD,” de Blasio said in a recent interview. “The vast majority of those stopped are currently young males of color, and almost 90% are considered entirely innocent even under police statistics.”

As the most progressive candidate in contention to be the next mayor of New York City, it’s unclear how much a Mayor de Blasio could reform stop-and-frisk and substantially improve the lives of black and brown men in the five boroughs.  The next mayor no matter who they are are facing an uphill battle, with a City Council that is likely not going to give much ground on this issue.  Certainly, the first place to start would be to get a new police commissioner.

NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly has called stop-and-frisk a “fact of urban life.”

The same poll which put de Blasio in the lead for the first time, had 60 percent of likely Democratic voters saying that use of stop and frisk is excessive and used to harass innocent people.  Members of the black community, certainly support getting rid of the policy altogether but at this stage, even with de Blasio in the lead, it’s not clear how many improvements or reforms are realistically possible.  When the rhetoric around stop-and-frisk meets the reality of slow and gradual reforms characteristic of government, the policy might not actually change that much even with a mayor who has spoken out pretty forcefully against key aspects during the course of the campaign.

Despite this uphill battle, de Blasio’s spokesman Dan Levitan told, he is “very” optimistic about being able to reform stop-and-frisk and made is clear yet again that de Blasio stands alone on key anti-stop-and-frisk positions at all.  “Bill de Blasio is the only candidate who supports a strong ban on racial profiling, an independent Inspector General for the NYPD, and a new police commissioner.  Bill believes that stop and frisk must be fundamentally reformed and only used within careful, constitutional guidelines.”

With a federal court judge ruling stop-and-frisk unconstitutional this week, the momentum is on the side of stop-and-frisk opponents and that political capital will be helpful to the next mayor if they choose to go after the policy in a substantive way.

Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @ZerlinaMaxwell.