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Leaders, community tell NYPD to halt stop-and-frisk

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 4/16/2013, 4:34 p.m.
Sound the alarm, the numbers are in: This week, the New York Civil Liberties Union...
Stop and frisk, Occupy protestors branded by NYPD

Sound the alarm, the numbers are in: This week, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) released statistics revealing the 10 precincts where cops make the most stop-and-frisks.

The NYCLU said that over 684,000 stops were made last year, a 14 percent increase from 2010, and less than 10 percent of the stops resulted in arrests.

Perhaps you are a young Black male running to the store for your ma or are on your way home from school, rushing to get to your little part-time job or maybe you are just standing with friends minding your own, and then you get vamped on by a crew of cops or a duo.

You get thrown against a wall or a car or you just have to stand there while you're forced to answer X amount of questions as your pockets are being emptied and you're patted down. No arrest, no apology--just the humiliation and lingering feeling that police containment is the order of the day.

Maybe you are driving through any of the five boroughs and you witness the NYPD rushing some youth. Most keep it moving, but some New Yorkers confront the confrontation and ask the police officers what is going on or they record it or simply watch, hence the formation of organizations such as Cop Watch by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

According to the NYCLU's figures, if you live in the 75th Precinct--East New York, Brooklyn--you might be or know one of the 31,100 people who were stopped and frisked by a member of the NYPD. If you live next door, in the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, you might be aware that 25,167 fellow residents were stopped.

Contributing to the grand total is the 115th Precinct--East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Queens--with 18,156, and holding it down in the 17,000s are the 40th Precinct, South Bronx; 90th Precinct, Williamsburg; 43rd Precinct, southeast Bronx; 103rd Precinct, Jamaica, Queens; and rounding up the top 10 with stop-and-frisks in the 16,000s are the 44th Precinct in the Bronx and the 120th Precinct in Staten Island.

Adding to a furious grassroots critique of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies is last Sunday's scathing report by the New York Times.

"Attorney General Eric Holder is rightly reviewing the constitutionally suspect surveillance practices that the New York City Police Department has employed against law-abiding Muslims," stated the Times. "The Justice Department should also review other practices--chief among them, stop-and-frisk--that have virtually eliminated the presumption of innocence and that treat citizens, and even entire communities, as suspect even after they are proved innocent."

"The latest disclosure of statistics by both the ACLU and NYCLU continues to expose the erosion, if not outright denial, of the civil liberties of the most vulnerable New Yorkers due to factors of race, ethnicity, class and religion," said Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, president of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York.

The activist imam who organized a forum at Riverside Church last week to talk about police-community relations told the AmNews, "Under the command leadership of Commissioner Ray Kelly, the NYPD manipulates its COMSTAT numbers, beats up young people in Zuccotti Park and covers all Muslims from here to Connecticut with a web of surveillance--all in the name of fighting crime and terrorism.