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

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 4/16/2013, 4:34 p.m.
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Last week, Kelly spoke at a testy Public Safety Committee budget hearing.

"What have you said about how to stop this violence?" asked Kelly. "What have the leaders of these communities of color said? What is their tactic and strategy to get guns off the street?"

Council Member Jumaane D. Williams responded swiftly to Kelly's comments.

"What my colleagues, members of the media and observers witnessed yesterday was a NYPD commissioner on the defensive, forced to defend the fiscal and environmental consequences of unjust policing practices like the department's use of stop, question and frisk.

"Faced with the legitimate concerns of council members, unfavorable polling data and statistics from his own department, which call their policies into serious question, Commissioner Kelly alleged that there is no leadership coming from my colleagues or I on reducing violence in communities of more color."

Williams, who is co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, noted that political and community leaders have always been at the forefront of combating violence in the communities they serve or live in.

"I find this laughable. No one is more committed to reducing violence in communities of more color than the members of those communities," said Williams. "We work closely with our local precincts, clergy councils and block associations to advocate for the best police coverage of our streets."

The Brooklyn councilman stated that Kelly has failed to demonstrate real leadership, which "would be standing up and admitting that's there more than concern over stop, question and frisk, that there's a serious problem."

Real leadership, Williams proposed, would be meeting with young Black and Latino New Yorkers and listening to their concerns. "Real leadership would be de-emphasizing quotas, or 'productivity goals,' and re-emphasizing good police work," he said. "Real leadership would be actually speaking with other city agencies like the Department for Youth and Community Development to discuss the relationship between violent crime and youth development; gun violence is an epidemic with multiple symptoms such as chronic poverty and underfunded youth services, and not addressing all of those symptoms in concert is senseless."

Williams concluded that as poverty and a lack of resources for effective services remain a key player in much of the social dysfunction, "in the absence of Commissioner Kelly's real leadership, my colleagues and I will continue to pursue meaningful reform that brings about safer streets for all New Yorkers, as opposed to discriminatory and lazy policing."