I’m heading to New York City for my brother’s wedding next month. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the bright lights of the big city, so to say that I’m excited is an understatement. Hopefully this trip doesn’t end with a run-in with the NYPD like I did on one of my visits years ago. You see, my mother lives in Brooklyn — Brownsville to be exact — and her neighborhood is considered to be a high crime area. And of course in the interest of public safety, there’s a heavy police presence. For the safety of my mother and the people who I love, this is a good thing.

However, as I’ve written before (here, here, and here), the NYPD’s policy of police harassment — otherwise commonly known as stop-and-frisk — is very problematic. How problematic? Just check out the following from Russ Tuttle at The Nation to understand what’s happening in America:

On June 3, 2011, three plainclothes New York City Police officers stopped a Harlem teenager named Alvin and two of the officers questioned and frisked him while the third remained in their unmarked car. Alvin secretly captured the interaction on his cell phone, and the resulting audio is one of the only known recordings of stop-and-frisk in action.

In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, “You want me to smack you?” When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.” Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”

Screen grab from video of Harlem teen named Alvin recording of himself and police during a stop-and-frisk incident on June 3, 2011. The video is titled ‘The Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy.’

[…] Alvin’s treatment at the hands of the officers may be disturbing but it is not uncommon. According to their own stop-and-frisk data, the NYPD stops more than 1,800 New Yorkers a day. A New York Times analysis recently determined that more than 20 percent of those stops involve the use of force. And these are only the numbers that the Department records. Anecdotal evidence suggests both figures are much higher.

Check out the video below. In it, you can listen to Alvin’s story in his own words. And if what he has to say isn’t disheartening, check out what one cop has to say about them being forced to “violate people’s rights,” as instructed by his watch captain. As you could imagine, this strategic policing is mostly employed in communities of color. Yep, black and brown people are targeted daily by city sanctioned racial profiling which is supposed to be against the law. So yeah, hopefully when I return from New York City next month I won’t have a similar story to share.

Listen to full audio below: