A packed house attended the “Bloomberg Strikes Back! Emergency Town Hall on Stop and Frisk” on Thursday, Nov. 14 at Restoration Plaza in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. At the event, which was organized by the Communities United for Police Reform, various community leaders and local politicians updated the community on the status of the Intro 1079 Oversight Act, regarding the establishment of independent oversight of the NYPD, and the Intro 1080 End Discriminatory Profiling Act, meant to protect New Yorkers against discriminatory profiling by the NYPD. These two bills together comprise the Community Safety Act.
The Community Safety Act, which is scheduled to go into law Jan. 1, 2014, has been challenged by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On Oct. 31, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit temporarily blocked an earlier decision by federal courts that would have stopped the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk procedures. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on a platform of ending stop-and-frisk, said that he was disappointed in the court’s decision and that he will not continue the appeals process.
District 45 Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, one of the co-sponsors of the act, shared that the City Council filed a motion on Oct. 30 against the mayor’s complaint. He also stated that the inspector general position is scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 20. L. Joy Williams, president of the Brooklyn Branch of the NAACP, stated that advocacy work such as writing letters, making phone calls and protesting is what helped lead to the initial passage of the act and that this same work will have to continue when de Blasio assumes office.
Earlier that day, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report concerning stop-and-frisk titled “Beyond Deliberate Indifference: An NYPD for all New Yorkers.” The report argues that the NYPD specifically targets young men of color. The report says that Black and Latino men between the ages of 14 and 24 make up only 4.7 percent of the city’s population but were the victims of 40.6 percent of stops in 2012.
Lurie D. Favors, a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and one of the event organizers, said, “Stop-and-frisk is the police version of the way in which America has allowed people to see people of color, in particular Black people.”
Communities United for Police Reform is a coalition of grassroots organizations that have been consistently organizing against stop-and-frisk. The coalition is made up of Brooklyn Alliance for Safer Streets, Brooklyn Movement Center, Brooklyn NAACP, ColorOfChange.org, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, NYC Food and Fitness Partnership, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Voices of Community Activists & Leaders.
For more information on the coalition and upcoming events, visit changethenypd.org.