At a recent protest at Foley Square, activists called the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice ‘stereotyping’ and ‘discriminatory’.
“My skin color is not a crime,” said Emony Jones, a 17-year-old from Los Sures, Williamsburg. “It is not a crime, it is not probable cause and it is not reasonable suspicion.”
Yet, judging by the New York Police Department policy known as “stop-and-frisk,” it seems neither Police Commissioner Ray Kelly nor Mayor Bloomberg agree with Jones.
Jones, a member of he community group El Puente, in Los Sures, could have been speaking for all black and Latino young people in New York, who are routinely subjected to unwarranted and degrading searches by police.
Stop-and-frisk is a NYPD tactic that, for all practical purposes, criminalizes black and Latino youth for no other reason than their color, their accent or their place of residence.
“That is stereotyping, that is racism, period,” Jones said on Monday at Foley Square.
She — along with other young people of color from community organizations such as El Puente, Make the Road New York and Latino Justice — joined elected officials and community leaders at Foley Square to protest stop-and-frisk, and support Floyd v. City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit filed against the NYPD and the city.
In that legal procedure several New Yorkers and the Center for Constitutional Rights are challenging the police practices of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop-and-frisks.
According to data obtained from the NYPD and extrapolated by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the use of stop-and-frisk increased by a whopping 600% between 2002 and 2011. Amazingly, nearly 9 in 10 of those stopped were neither arrested nor issued a summons, and nearly 90% of them were black or Latino, according to Make the Road New York. Discrimination by any other name is still discrimination.
New Yorkers were stopped by the NYPD over half a million times in 2012 and 5 million stops have been made throughout the Bloomberg administration.
“The city’s stop-and-frisk practice fails to make us safer, but does succeed in the daily humiliation of law-abiding New Yorkers, most of them young people of color,” said Héctor Figueroa, the president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. “We must stop this destructive, discriminatory practice now.”
Figueroa is right. Despite the abovementioned 600% increase in stop-and-frisks, the number of gun violence victims in the city has remained at nearly the same level of 1,800, according to NYPD statistics.
This fact, of course, belies Bloomberg’s and Kelly’s claims that such an abusive practice keeps New York safe.
Not surprisingly, a majority of city voters are against this over-the-top police tactic, according to a Quinnipiac Institute poll.
After all, we are all New Yorkers and, as such, we all deserve to be equally respected by authorities. Yet those who are supposed to “protect and serve” every city resident have failed in their mission by treating people of color, particularly the young, as crime suspects.
The increasing number of New Yorkers who oppose stop-and-frisk — and its obstinate defense by the mayor and the police commissioner — is the most blatant example of how little they understand, or care about, the feelings and the rights of their constituents of color.
“Stereotypes are just that, stereotypes,” Jones said. “And the numbers tell you that mostly blacks and Latinos are being stopped and frisked in New York City. They’d be lying if they tried to say that stereotype is not a part of it.”
To view the original article, click here.