Former New York Gov. George Pataki took a dig at Chicago's police department Tuesday while discussing New York City's stop-and-frisk policy that a judge rebuked as discriminatory.
Pataki defended the policy on "Morning Joe," saying it has saved lives, circumvented crimes and improved the quality of life, especially in the city's low-income and African American neighborhoods.
That's better than Chicago is doing, he said.
“If [Attorney General Eric] Holder and [President Barack] Obama want to investigate a police department, why don’t they look at Chicago, where the civil rights of young African-Americans are being not only taken away, but they’re being murdered in record rates in the South Side of Chicago?” Pataki said.
“The policing there leaves something to be desired when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of young African-Americans to walk the streets with life, liberty and in the pursuit of happiness.”
When asked whether he was worried about instances of potential racial discrimination connected to the stop-and-frisk policy, Pataki said the average number of times an officer stops someone to ask them a question before they even think about frisking them is less than once a week.
"I'm also comforted by the fact that we have the best police department in the world, the most ethnically and racially diverse, the best trained police department, and they're not doing this on a regular basis," he said.
Chicago marked 516 homicides in 2012, a dubious distinction that hadn't occurred since 2008, when it ended the year with 512 murders. Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the total "an unfortunate and tragic milestone" and former House speaker Newt Gingrich "the murder capital of the United States."
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, whose roots are in New York, has said revised crime-fighting strategies have helped.
"Through a close partnership with the community and our comprehensive policing strategy there have been significant drops in murders, shootings and overall crime this year," McCarthy told NBC Chicago in July, "but it's progress and not victory because one shooting or murder is unacceptable."
After a weekend that left four people dead and 23 injured in Chicago violence, the police department said Monday that shootings and murders are down so far this August compared to the same time period last year.
Pataki isn't the only New Yorker bringing Chicago into the conversation. The New York Post quoted New York police officers who warn that changing the policy would send "crime soaring to levels found in blighted cities like Chicago and Detroit."
A veteran Bronx police officer said "Welcome to Chicago," believing the switch in policy will cause officers to become overly cautious and allow criminal suspects to slip through.