By Jueseppi B.
Over the past decade, the NYPD has consistently scored over 88% on one subject: binding and clasping of the darker races of men and finding that they were innocent, blameless, guilty of zilch, zero, nada. The NYCLU has this to say about the issue:
Stop and frisk
In the United States, a law enforcement officer may briefly detain a person upon reasonable suspicion of involvement in a crime but short of probable cause to arrest; such a detention is known as a Terry stop. When a search for weapons is also authorized, the procedure is known as a stop and frisk. To justify the stop, a law enforcement officer must be able to point to “specific and articulable facts” that would indicate to a reasonable person that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed. If the officer reasonably suspects that the suspect is in possession of a weapon that is of danger to the officer or others, the officer may conduct a frisking of the suspect’s outer garments to search for weapons. The search must be limited to what is necessary to discover weapons; however, pursuant to the “plain feel” doctrine, police may seize contraband discovered in the course of a frisk, but only if the contraband’s identity is immediately apparent.
Questionable use of “stop and frisk”?
The New York City Police Department has come under scrutiny for its use of the Terry stop. Supporters say that it reduces crime, but civil rights advocates say it is racial profiling. John A. Eterno, a former city police captain describes: “My take is that this has become more like a ‘throw a wide net and see what you can find’ kind of thing. I don’t see it as targeted enforcement, especially when you see numbers that we are talking about.” Looking at “eight odd blocks of Brownsville, Brooklyn, a study found that between January 2006 and March 2010, the police made nearly 52,000 stops.” In a later review of that article about NYC’s “Stop, Question, Frisk” program, as well as the larger issue of blacks’ welcome in the city, a columnist wrote “there were a record 580,000 stop-and-frisks in the city in 2009.
Most of those stopped (55 percent) were black (a large portion were also Hispanic), most were young and almost all were male. For reference, according to the Census Bureau, there were about only 300,000 black men between the ages of 13 and 34 living in the city that year. A mere 6 percent of the stops resulted in arrests.”
New York City’s contentious stop-and-frisk policy might be soon brought to a halt. City, state and federal officials have asked the US Department of Justice to consider investigating the NYPD’s controversial detainment program.
The Justice Department may soon weigh in on the New York Police Department’s continuously problematic stop-and-frisk program following a discussion on Thursday with critics still outraged by the ongoing policies considered rampant with profiling by many.
This week’s news about a possible end to the stop-and-frisk policies comes less than a month after a federal judge granted class action status to a lawsuit filed years earlier challenging the constitutionality of the department’s ongoing practice of detaining civilians based on alleged probable cause that many say is often determined by nothing more than race. Last year the NYPD stopped 685,724 people, and while 87 percent of those subsequently frisked were either black or Latino, the odds of a person from that sample actually being found guilty of a crime was only 1-out-of-10, reports the American Civil Liberties Union.
“This case presents an issue of great public concern: the disproportionate number of Blacks and Latinos, as compared to Whites, who become entangled in the criminal justice system,” US District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in last month’s ruling. “The specific claims raised in this case are narrower but they are raised in the context of the extensively documented racial disparities in the rates of stops, arrests, convictions, and sentences that continue through the present day.”
Now that the stop-and-frisk suit has been granted class action status, additional plaintiffs are being asked to come forth and join the prosecution against the NYPD. Only weeks after that ruling, though, local and national lawmakers are joining forces to oppose the department’s policies outside of a court of law.
“If you look at the numbers, no matter how you slice stop, question and frisk, it is a racist and prejudicial policy that violates civil rights and civil liberties,” New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams said during Thursday’s discussions.
As opposition becomes more and more rampant over the alleged racial profiling, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly have by-and-large defended the department’s policies. Last month Mayor Bloomberg claimed that the NYPD’s tactics, love them or hate them, shouldn’t prompt anyone involved to have to say they’re sorry because under his watch their initiatives have ended violent crimes.
“Nobody should ask Ray Kelly to apologize – he’s not going to and neither am I – for saving 5,600 live,” insisted the mayor. When approached by reporters at a press conference weeks later with information confirming that the stop-and-frisks have not significantly caused a drop in crime, the mayor reportedly admitted, “I know that.”
“I mean, it’s worrisome. And Ray Kelly is working on it,” he said, reports DNAInfo.com. “There are still too many guns.”
On Thursday’s meeting, Councilman Williams revealed that he isn’t exactly on board with the mayor, either.
“It’s clear that the mayor and commissioner – in the face of everything that points to this policy being unjust, unfair, racist, prejudiced and most importantly ineffective – won’t do anything about it,” Williams said. “Their lack of leadership is forcing us to do other things.
Why We’re Marching Against Stop and Frisk
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently made a disturbing revelation about the New York City Police Department’s policy of stopping pedestrians and forcibly searching their bodies for weapons. He revealed that police do not actually expect to find any weapons.
In the wake of new data showing that New York City’s stop-and-frisk encounters turned up one gun every 3,000 stops (or 0.03 percent of the time), Bloomberg compared the policy to a highway sobriety checkpoint. He argued that the program acts as a deterrent to crime, so it cannot be judged by its rate of success.
But for the majority of people who walk away without a charge, the experience serves only to undercut trust in the police who are sworn to protect them. The experience is an invasion of privacy, a humiliation and a stinging reminder of how police resources are being diverted away from solving homicides, rapes and other violent crimes to support an ineffective and racially biased practice.
Comparing police officers to officers at a checkpoint is both dangerous and misleading. Sobriety checkpoints are legal only because they are entirely random: Police must stop every car or every second, third or fourth car, and so on. This prevents any danger of profiling drivers based on stereotypes of race, gender and ethnicity.
With stop and frisk, there is no such mechanism in place. More than half of the stops in 2011 were justified in police ledgers as a response to “furtive movements.” This ambiguity leaves little room for accountability at any level and significant room to illegally profile.
A recent New York Civil Liberties Union report showed that 87 percent of those stopped by the NYPD were African American or Latino, even though those groups were less likely than whites to be found with a weapon. Ninety percent of African Americans and Latinos stopped were innocent of any legal infraction.
There is no reason that people of color need more deterrence than any other racial group in the city. It would seem that the NYPD is trying to instill more fear in one section of the population over another — a demographic that has less political clout and less means to defend itself from bullying.
Stop-and-frisk policing is, in fact, counterproductive. A healthy police force should be modeled on the image of a police officer walking the beat and interacting with neighbors. But in many New York City neighborhoods, residents live in fear of officers. Between those who get stopped, those who know someone who got stopped and those who read about racial disparities in the newspaper, the program erodes trust in police officers and destroys the valuable relationships between officers and the communities they serve.
Other large cities are effectively cutting crime without resorting to stop and frisk. The violent-crime rate fell 29 percent in New York City from 2001 to 2010, but it also fell 59 percent in Los Angeles over the same time period, 56 percent in New Orleans and 49 percent in Dallas. In these cities, community policing and data-driven methods have proved effective in rooting out crime.
This Father’s Day, the NAACP and other civil rights activists, civil liberty advocates and community members will march silently down the streets of New York City to protest stop-and-frisk policing. The tradition of silent marches for civil rights dates back to 1917, when W.E.B. Du Bois and the 8-year-old NAACP marched through New York City to protest lynchings, segregation and race riots in the South.
Silence is a powerful force that, like other forms of nonviolent protest, holds a mirror to the brutality of one’s opponents. On June 17 we will hold up a mirror to New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy. For more information about the event, visit silentmarchnyc.org.
East Harlem is Mobilizing for the 100,000 Strong June 17th Father’s Day March to End the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy!
Our 23rd Precinct in East Harlem has the highest number of stops in Manhattan! Stop and Frisk is discriminatory, ineffective and out of control.
Be a part of the East Harlem Contingent!!
Please contact Andrew King (Aking@council.nyc.gov) to get help us organize and flyer for this march
We will march to Mayor Bloomberg’s townhouse.
Father’s Day Sunday,
June 17th, 2012 3pm
110th Street between 7th Ave and Lenox
Join civil rights, faith, labor and community groups in a silent march against NYC’s ‘Stop and Frisk” policy! On Father’s Day, let’s show Mayor Bloomberg that New Yorkers refuse to let our children be victimized by racial profiling.
Assembling from 1-2:30pm, March at 3pm
We will also be having a Youth Know Your Rights Day against Stop & Frisk on Saturday, June 9th, at 2pm in Morningside Park at 122nd and Morningside Avenue in Harlem, where people from across the city will be trained in what do when dealing with the police.
The NYPD is stopping New Yorkers at higher levels than at any time in the city’s history. As the number of stops continues to grow, it will seem more and more as if the NYPD has set up a checkpoint on every corner. That would be an unwelcome development for the nation’s most diverse city.
This is not new ya’ll. It has been going on for decades. But of course if you are not of color, you would not know this fact.
Filed under: Black History, Causes, Celebs & Fame, Court Room/Legal, Crime, Education, LGBT Community, News, Opinion, Politics, Race, Racism Tagged: | American Civil Liberties Union, Frisk, illegal search and seizure, Latino, New York City, New York City Police Department, New York Civil Liberties Union, NYPD, Racial profiling, Racism, Stop and frisk, United States