NEW YORK, June 29 (UPI) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg, defending New York's controversial stop-and-frisk policy on his weekly radio show, said whites are disproportionately targeted.
The comment -- similar to one in May by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly -- provoked a quick response from several candidates hoping to succeed him, the New York Post reported.
"I disagree strongly with the mayor on this point," City Council President Christine Quinn said. "We have too many stops that overwhelmingly focus on young men of color, yielding very few weapons."
Bloomberg said New York Police Department statistics show 9 percent of those who are stopped and frisked for weapons are white, but only 7 percent of those suspected of homicide are white.
Blacks and Hispanics are 90 percent of homicide suspects and 87 percent of those stopped.
"I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little," Bloomberg said. "It's exactly the reverse of what they say."
Critics of the policy say it turns up few weapons and does little to combat crime.
Bill Thompson, the city's former controller and, like Quinn, a candidate for the Democratic mayoral nomination, also took issue with Bloomberg.
"The mayor's comments seem to indicate that if you're black or Latino, you're automatically a murder suspect in the city of New York," Thompson said. "What he indicates to the hundreds of thousands of people who are stopped and frisked unnecessarily in past years is that 'we're sorry we didn't stop more people in the city of New York.'"