After two months of testimony, the trial against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy has come to an end. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin presided over the case, and will give a final ruling in a few months. As I have mentioned on more than one occasion on this site, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy is inherently racist. Of course some of you may disagree. Yes, some of you may be of the opinion that the policy of stopping and harassing black and brown folk is in the interest of public safety. After all, we all know that black and brown people are genetically predisposed to crime, right?
Well, according to analysis of data collected by the NYPD presented in the stop-and-frisk trial, blacks folks stopped and searched were less likely to have guns and drugs than white folks also stopped by the NYPD. This startling fact was not lost on Judge Scheindlin who in her closing statements said, “A lot of people are being frisked or searched on suspicion of having a gun and nobody has a gun.” Casting skepticism she also added, “So the point is: the suspicion turns out to be wrong in most of the cases.” Yep, well isn’t that special. From the looks of it, in the interest of keeping guns off the street, it looks like the NYPD has been stopping the wrong people. Or should I say, they haven’t been stopping enough of the right people.
This from RT:
Data compiled by the New York Police Department as a result of the city’s controversial focus on stop-and-frisk measures has shown that those suspects who were white were more often to be found in possession of weapons and drugs.
The analysis of 2012 statistics provided by the Public Advocate’s office shows that the likelihood that an African American detained for search would be found in possession of a weapon was half that of a white person.
Specifically, the New York Police Department uncovered a weapon in one out of every 49 stops of white New Yorkers, while for Latinos a weapon was found for every 71 stops, and for African Americans that number was 93 stops.
Meanwhile, the likelihood that a stop of an African American New Yorker would yield contraband was one-third less than that of white New Yorkers stopped.
The NYPD uncovered contraband in one out every 43 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 57 stops of Latinos and 61 stops of African Americans to uncover contraband.
Recent testimony by several New York police officers in connection to a lawsuit allege that the department regularly targets young black men and other minorities, which are judged by an arbitrary notion of “reasonable suspicion.”
Further, the stop-and-frisk practice is allegedly tied to quotas by which superiors measure success rates over the city’s police precincts.
In March, following evidence provided by a leaked recording, Officer Pedro Serrano, an 8-year veteran of the New York Police Department testified that during a meeting with Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormick he was told in no uncertain terms what individuals to focus his duties on.
“I don’t have any trouble telling you this: male blacks 14 to 20, 21,” said McCormick.
Serrano’s testimony was presented as part of Floyd v. City of New York, in which four plaintiffs claim they were racially profiled by the NYPD. Four other police officers presented evidence for the prosecution.
Despite reports of a 25% decrease in stop-and-frisk in 2012, it’s important to understand that this racist practice should not be allowed to continue. Why? Because it amounts to nothing more than city sanctioned racial profiling. And last time I checked, the federal government isn’t too welcoming of such discriminatory practices in the interest of justice. Yep, just ask Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who was slapped on the wrist this week for racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio getting the smackdown gives me hope that the NYPD and its racist policy will reach the same fate.
Having said all of this, checkout hip hop artist, Yasin Bey’s PSA-styled video that was released recently in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), aimed at bringing awareness to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.