(NEW YORK) — At a press conference announcing the seizure of 254 illegal guns, Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to a wiretap conversation from the investigation showing that one of the gun traffickers’ biggest concerns was the city’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly read aloud the conversation, in which a gun trafficker from South Carolina discussed his plans to bring guns through North Carolina to New York City, taking the Chinatown bus.
The gun trafficker and 18 others have been indicted for transporting the firearms from the South, where Kelly said there are weaker gun laws, and then selling them in New York City to an undercover officer. The guns seized are valued at more than $160,000.
As Bloomberg and Kelly addressed the media, most of the weapons seized lay on a table in front of them, illustrating a small victory in the fight against illegal guns.
The mayor is also hoping for a victory in his appeal of a ruling by a federal judge just one week ago, that the NYPD’s controversial so-called “stop-and-frisk” policy is unconstitutional.
Bloomberg has said the tactic, which allows cops to search anyone regardless of whether they believe a crime has been committed, is “an important part of [the NYPD’s] record of success.”
In her ruling, Judge Shira Sheindlin said the policy unfairly targeted blacks and Hispanics. Sheindlin ruled that the policy could continue, but only under strong new restrictions.
New York’s mayor and police commissioner refuted the judge’s ruling once again at Monday’s press conference, applauding the police officers involved in the largest gun seizure in the city’s history.
“There is no doubt that this seizure has saved lives,” said Bloomberg.
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