Leaders, community tell NYPD to halt stop-and-frisk
NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 4/16/2013, 4:34 p.m.
"This is done with no sense of accountability to the public or its elected representatives. All the while, Mayor Bloomberg continues to make it abundantly clear that this out-of-control agency [the NYPD] and its head can do no wrong in his eyes when it comes to the poor, young, people of color and Muslims. What a third term of office this has turned out to be."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the police tactic as an effective tool to deter crime, but he did not respond to an AmNews request for comment.
"[It] stops crime and saves lives," Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne told the AmNews of the controversial NYPD policy. "A big spike in robberies earlier in the year in the 90th Precinct was reduced later in the year in the wake of stops. The analogy between arrests and stops is false. An arrest requires the higher level of probable cause; stops only reasonable suspicion.
"Arrests don't measure the success of stops. Crime prevention does. You may have two or three young men waiting outside a bodega at closing time intent on robbing the owner in a strong-armed robbery. A stop by officers may not produce an arrest, but it has prevented a crime."
However, the Times editorial stated, "The Police Department's tendency toward blanket surveillance is on vivid display in its stop-and-frisk program, which results in the stopping of more than 600,000 mainly minority citizens on the streets every year. The department credits the program with reducing crime, but there is no proof that it does. A study carried out in connection with a federal lawsuit against the department has found that only about 6 percent of stops result in arrest and that less than 1 percent turn up weapons."
Retired Detective Marquez Claxton refused to be swayed by the police response or amazed by the newly released stats. "Every stat, study and report will confirm what is already known," he told the AmNews. "The NYPD is engaged in systemic race-based enforcement and racial profiling. It continues because of a lack of actual political power and the complicity of many influential people.
"The unavoidable truth is that far too many people who will publicly criticize it privately support heavy-handed, unlawful treatment of Blacks and Latinos. They have accepted the misguided, wrong-headed police state strategy of Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly. They are thumbing their noses at civil rights."
"We are so sick and tired of this," proclaimed East New York Councilman Charles Barron. "I am calling on all politicians to drive around their districts and challenge these stops-and-frisks. I have been doing it for a while, and I get out of my car and demand to know why the individual has been stopped and why the police are acting illegally and unconstitutionally and violating [people's] human rights to move freely in their neighborhoods."
Barron, who represents the 75th Precinct, announced, "We can't wait for legislation. We can't wait for Ray Kelly because he doesn't give a damn. We must patrol our own neighborhoods, because our youngsters are the ones getting arrested. Once that happens, they have to put it on their employment applications for life and it messes them up. We need to attack this policy legally, legislatively and in the streets because the NYPD is out of control."