In the months since the police shooting that left Sean Bell dead outside a Queens nightclub, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has displaying a rare willingness by a mayor to side against the police, says the New York Times. Still, many community leaders say the mayor has not adequately addressed the underlying factors in the fatal mistake: overly aggressive tactics and racial profiling by the police department. “It's been pretty much a clarion call from all around the city that encounters with the police are hostile,” said City Councilman Leroy Comrie, who represents the area where Bell died. Comrie said Bloomberg is “patching the wound, but he's not doing the deep surgery required to keep the wound from reappearing.”
From 2002 to 2006, complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board rose by 66 percent, while complaints about stop-and-frisks, increased by roughly three to four times. Blacks filed complaints at a disproportionately high rate. Officials say the race of those stopped and searched roughly parallels the race of people mentioned in reports from crime victims. The most aggressive police tactics, fatal shootings, are down under Bloomberg, averaging 12 a year since 2002, down from 25 a year during the 1990s. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly acknowledged the perception that the police were overly aggressive in black neighborhoods and said it was something officials needed to continue addressing.