Activists call to action all voters stop-and-frisked

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 6/18/2013, 10:51 a.m.

"All New Yorkers deserve to be protected from both crime and being unjustly targeted by the police, but unfortunately, under the Bloomberg administration, at least hundreds of thousands of our neighbors have had their rights violated by those meant to protect them," said Jose Lopez of Communities United for Police Reform. "We will be working to ensure New Yorkers impacted by these dangerously counterproductive policies know the positions of the candidates and make their voices heard on the critical issues of safety and discriminatory policing."

The organization states that under the Bloomberg administration, the use of stop-and-frisk has increased by more than 600 percent, with over 5 million stops occurring throughout its tenure. Nearly nine in 10 of those stopped were neither arrested nor issued a summons, and nearly 90 percent of those stopped were Black or Latino. A disproportionate number of those stopped are young Black and Latino New Yorkers.

This same group quotes a New York City Campaign Finance Board report that cites studies that found younger voters were underrepresented in the electorate. They add that this is mainly because they have not been targeted as a powerful voting block.

Citing racial discrimination and unreasonable searches and seizures, the Communities United for Police Reform notes both the ongoing class action federal civil rights case challenging the constitutionality of Bloomberg's stop-and-frisk police policy, as well as the City Council considering the Community Safety Act bills to both ban racial profiling and bring on an inspector general to oversee the NYPD overseers.

"The most important thing we can do to change the direction of policing in New York City is to demand that our candidates for mayor explain to voters where they stand on vital criminal justice issues," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "Impacted communities must not be overlooked."

Thompson concluded, "The time has come to reform stop-and-frisk and end the false choice between public safety and civil rights. As the father of a young son and as a former federal prosecutor who has fought to protect crime victims, I welcome all efforts to educate the public on these often abused and misused practices for the sake of all of our children."

For more information, visit www.changethenypd.org.