All Articles Tagged "stop and frisk"
The New York City Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy has been controversial since it began with many civil rights organizations say the policy unfairly targets minority men, especially young African-American males. And now victims of unjust “stop-and-frisks” can sue the police.
The NYPD had tried to stop this from happening, but in a recent decision State Supreme Court Justice Anil Singh upheld the Community Safety Act passed by the City Council last year making it easier for citizens to sue the NYPD for racial profiling. And the Manhattan judge also rejected a request from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association to issue an injunction against the measure, reports The New York Daily News.
Minorities were stopped disproportionately and 90 percent of the stops did not end in an arrest.
“Local Law 71 does not prevent police officers from continuing to stop, question and frisk while utilizing their training and experience,” Singh wrote in a 35-page decision.
“The law only seeks to deter the use of attributes such as race as the sole basis for an investigatory stop which is antithetical to our constitution and values,” the judge continued.
According to New York Civil Liberties Union president Donna Lieberman, this decision will not only help citizens but also the police as well.
“It is a victory for all New Yorkers, including the police, because it is building trust and respect between officers and the communities they serve,” she noted.
“This law provides an important opportunity for New Yorkers who are subject to racial profiling or other discriminatory behavior the opportunity to vindicate their rights,” she added.
Even Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the City Council measure, unlike former mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had sided with the unions in trying to fight it.
But PBA president Pat Lynch said his organization would appeal the ruling.
“This law sends an extremely bad message to our police officers who will see themselves in legal crosshairs with every arrest they make. Potentially, this bad law can have a very serious impact on public safety,” Lynch said.
But Singh disagrees. “The City Council passed Local Law 71 to address a local concern relating to civil rights and police activities. The law does not prohibit or restrict the right of a police officer to make a stop … Rather it addresses the consequences of biased-based profiling by law enforcement personnel,” Singh wrote.
Brooklyn, NY, is moving to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana as new Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson has vowed to stop prosecuting low-level marijuana arrests.
“I not only want to keep Brooklyn safe, I want to protect the future of our youth,” Ken Thompson said during his inaugural address. “That means we must change the policy regarding those who are arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
“In 2012 over 12,000 people in Brooklyn were arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana, mostly young, black men,” Thompson said, citing a 2013 report that found blacks in Brooklyn were nine times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession,” he added.
According to Thompson, such arrests clog the criminal justice system, costing the borough substantial time and money, adding “if these defendants are given criminal records instead of violations, it would make it harder for them in the future to live productive lives. We in Brooklyn can, and must, do better.”
When elected, Thompson became Brooklyn’s first black district attorney. During his run, he promised not to criminally prosecute persons arrested for possessing less than 15 grams of pot. Instead, those arrested would be given a non-criminal violation punishable by a $100 fine.
Currently, in New York, possession of small amounts of marijuana is only a crime if it’s “in public view.” Until 1993, New York City averaged less than 2,000 marijuana arrests annually, but under Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, this rose to more than 50,000 in 2011–more than all the marijuana arrests from 1978 to 1996, combined–as a result of police bringing marijuana into “public view” through stops and frisks.
“Public safety and law and order run hand in hand with civil liberties,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at the inauguration of Thompson whom he called a “progressive.”
“Ken is going to help create a new New York in which we make people safe and respect their rights at the same time, and that means ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk once and for all,” the mayor added.
Conversely, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently gave up an effort to decriminalize possession of under 15 grams of weed statewide. Now he’s pushing for a less controversial medical marijuana plan. Do you think it will get through?
Bill de Blasio has just taken office as the new mayor of New York but he has already taken action on one of his campaign promises–to address the controversial New York police policy of Stop-and-Frisk.
De Blasio has agreed to appoint a monitor over the tactic. He is also looking to end the 14-year court battle of Floyd, et al. v. City of New York that resulted in a judge’s ruling that the city discriminated in the crime-reduction program, reports ABC News. That case is a class-action suit brought on behalf of the minority citizens of New York City by David Floyd and David Ourlicht, who claim the NYPD stopped them without reasonable suspicion.
Floyd is an African–American man who says on February 27, 2008 while helping a neighbor enter his house, three NYPD officers approached them and proceeded to stop and frisk them. Ourlicht is of African–American and Italian ancestry and claims that in 2008 while sitting on a bench with an African–American male friend outside a public housing complex in Harlem two uniformed police officers approached, drew their weapons and ordered them on the ground. Ourlicht was patted down.
“We believe these steps will make everyone safer,” Mayor de Blasio said at a news conference shortly after NYC lawyers requested the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to return the case to the lower court “for the purpose of exploring a full resolution.”
Last year, a judge found the NYPD had discriminated against blacks and Hispanics during stop-and-frisks and ordered major reforms to the policy. The decision was appealed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Police Commissioner William Bratton seems to be in agreement. He said the policy had too many people who, after being frisked, questioned, “Why, why me?” while police officers have been pressured to make more arrests even though crime rates had fallen.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network said they support the city’s decision that will lead to the resolution of Floyd, et al. v. City of New York. They were joined by Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine, who released a statement saying the decision “represents one of the most critical steps taken by a governmental entity to end racial discrimination in policing in US history.”
And ColorOfChange.org praised the decision, adding in a statement from executive director Rashad Robinson, “New York City has long influenced national conversation around policing strategies, which makes today’s news a particularly incredible step in the right direction.
Compared to last year, use of stop-and-frisk, which involves police officers searching passersby based on often flimsy evidence (a vague description, for instance) that they’ve done anything wrong, has dropped by 80 percent. But the debate still remains heated: Does the program contribute to lower crime numbers? New evidence suggests not, TheGrio reports.
Outgoing New York City Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have always justified stop-and-frisk, which overwhelmingly targets Black and Hispanic residents, by assuring the public that crime has plummeted due to the program. But their persuasion is wearing thin as data finds that stop-and-frisk practices have dropped, yet the city’s crime hasn’t surged as Bloomberg and Kelly warned.
In July, August, and September of last year, there were 106,000 stops by the NYPD. The same time this year, there were 21,000 stops — an 80 percent decrease. According to data provided to the City Council, police confiscated 99 firearms, down from 198 last year, and 463 knives, down from 1,016.
The steep drop in stop-and-frisk is “good news,” says Donna Lieberman, head of the New York Civil Liberties Union. This is a testament that New York City can still be on the right track towards a safe city without tactics that racially profile minorities.
In fact, a recent study discovers that stop-and-frisk tactics are more ineffective than they are effective — only 1.5 percent of residents who were stopped-and-frisked were actually convicted for a crime and sentenced to more than 30 days in jail. “The study concludes that Stop & Frisk has little impact on the rate of violent crime,” PressTV says.
“Even as (Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s) administration doggedly defends its stop-and-frisk program in court and in the public, these numbers are tacit recognition that it’s misguided and not necessary for the public safety,” Lieberman adds.
The decline could be the result of Judge Shira A. Scheindlin‘s decree for the NYPD to make sweeping changes to the police force regarding stop-and-frisk practices after four minority men sued for being unfairly targeted. But as MN has reported, her ruling has been suspended as this point as a federal appeals accused her of being too impartial during the case.
Another reason behind the drops in stop-and-frisk are a new training course put in place by Commissioner Kelly to properly mold officers on how to approach a suspect without breaking any laws. NYPD authorities who work in high-crime areas are receiving the training.
There are also now consequences for officers who abuse stop-and-frisk. “The police department established an early warning system to identify officers who have received public complaints on the policy, and precinct commanders will be held accountable at weekly meetings,” TheGrio concludes.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio made a campaign pledge to end stop-and-frisk entirely.
At this point, I think it would be safe to say Don Lemon is a glutton for punishment. As one of few African Americans reporting news on a major network, the CNN journalist has attempted to make his mark as some sort of expert on the black community. Unfortunately, for him and us, every time he opens his mouth he just can’t get it right.
Today, Black Twitter is having a field day at Lemon’s expense after he spoke in favor of stop-and-frisk on Black America Web’s radio program. Yes, you read that right. Proclaiming that, “If you question many people in New York City, even some black and Hispanic people, they will tell you that on the surface they don’t really have an issue with stop-question-and-frisk,” Lemon went on to pose this nonsensical question:
“Would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive? That’s the real issue facing the citizens of New York and pretty soon, ultimately YOU.”
And that’s when the veteran (term to be used loosely now) journalist got his behind handed to him with the hashtag #DonLemonOn. Bringing up nearly every racial issue that has plagued African Americans in the United States, Black Twitter decided to create their own commentary on how Don Lemon might address issues like slavery, segregation, and more. Read on and have a good laugh at his expense in the face of his ignorant commentary. Thoughts?
#DonLemonOn The Middle Passage: It was a free trip. They should be thankful.
— PragmaticObotsUnite (@PragObots) November 5, 2013
Stop-and-frisk, a police tactic that uses an overwhelming amount of racial profiling, had been deemed unconstitutional. But wait. Shira A. Scheindlin, the judge who made the ruling, has been thrown out of the case by a federal appeals court, which has halted the NYPD’s abandonment of stop-and-frisk practices, the New York Times reports.
The Court of Appeals decided that Scheindlin was being biased in her August ruling that the NYPD had violated minorities’ Fourth and 14th Amendment rights. When the lawsuit against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics was filed six years ago, the panel alleges that Scheindlin steered the case into her courtroom. According to the three-judge panel, “Shira A. Scheindlin, ‘ran afoul’ of the judiciary’s code of conduct by compromising the ‘appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation,’” the NY Times said.
Ray Kelly, the head honcho of the NYPD and the biggest cheerleader for stop-and-frisk, was recently booed at Brown University with students chanting “Racism is not for debate!” “No question about it, violent crime will go up,” Kelly said shortly after Scheindlin’s ruling. He noted that the very population that’s most opposed to stop-and-frisk will be in the most trouble. “The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities,” he said. Stats show 87 percent of the people stopped under stop-and-frisk in 2012 were black or Latino[...] just 7 percent were white. Plans to monitor the NYPD, which was supposed to push the department’s end to racial profiling as a crime-fighting strategy, has now been postponed.
“[Kelly] noted that 97% of shooting victims are black or Hispanic; [he] reasoned that similar demographics apply if a stop deters a killing and added that there have been more than 7,300 fewer killings in the 11 full years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure so far than in the 11 years before,” USA Today noted.
Bloomberg, who whole-heartedly supports Kelly’s stop-and-frisk practices, added, “The fact that fewer guns are on the street now shows that our efforts have been successful. There is just no question that stop-question-frisk has saved countless lives.”
John Koeltl is the new judge presiding over the case. The case will extend into 2014, after Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor is over. Bill DiBlasio, the Democratic mayoral nominee who’s far ahead in the polls over his Republican opponent, Joseph J. Lhota (a supporter of stop-and-frisk) noted that he was “extremely disappointed” by the court’s decision. “We have to end the overuse of stop-and-frisk, and any delay only means a continued and unnecessary rift between our police and the people they protect.” DiBlasio said in a statement.
Last week while waiting for a friend at Newark International Airport, rapper-turned-reality star Jim Jones was approached by a police officer who claimed he smelled marijuana coming from the Harlem M.C.’s vehicle, TMZ reports.
The way the story is being told, not long after the first officer approached Jim, three more officers joined him. They are said to have then ordered him to step out of his vehicle and place both hands on the trunk of his car. Officers then ransacked the car in search of drugs and contraband, in addition to giving the Chrissy & Mr. Jones star a thorough pat down.
Their seemingly unwarranted search turned up empty. One officer wrote Jim a citation for driving without a license and then officers left the scene.
“He was searched for nothing more than racial profiling,” a representative on behalf of Jones told TMZ.
The rep also revealed that Jim is furious over what happened. A spokesperson for the New York/New Jersey Port Authority expressed that they will be looking into the incident.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever been harassed by law enforcement?
Y’all Tried The Wrong One This Time: New York Deli That Accused Forest Whitaker Of Shoplifting Issues Public Apology
The Milano Market located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan falsely accused Oscar Award-winning actor, Forest Whitaker of shoplifting last week, reports Essence.com. The way the story is being told by Whitaker’s publicist, one of the deli’s employees approached the actor as he was leaving the store and accused him of stealing. When Forest denied having stolen anything from the store, the employee prohibited him from leaving the deli and even frisked him in front of the store’s other patrons.
“This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into a deli,”the actor’s publicist told the New York Daily News.
The deli employee eventually apologized to Forest when he realized he’d made a mistake and Forest was a pretty good sport about it. He declined to file a complaint because the deli employee feared he would be fired over the incident. Instead, he took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate to the business’s owner, the horrible manner in which they treat their customers.
“Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner,” revealed his publicist.
Since the embarrassing incident, owners of the Milano Market have come forth, issuing a public statement through TMZ regarding the false accusations.
“The management of Milano Market deeply regrets the wrongful actions of our employee in stopping and frisking Forest Whitaker… While we can not delve into the employee’s mindset, we do not believe that he was racially motivated in his actions, simply misguided.”
Representatives from the deli have also promised to make a donation to the charity of Forest’s choice, in an effort to make amends for the horrible offense.
Forest is a cool guy for not making a fuss over the incident and instead using it to bring attention to the flawed behavior that many business owners exhibit towards the public, especially those who are of color.
What do you think of Forest’s reaction?
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Since August, there have been some fairly controversial billboards popping up on bus shelters in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn that are reminding residents that “racism still exists”. Each month, a different form of racial injustice is highlighted by the billboards. Thus far, the campaign ads have tackled issues such as entertainment, smoking, policing, fast food and Black wealth.
This month’s ad is confronting the controversial Stop-and-Frisk tactics of the NYPD, which are highly criticized for their impact on Black and Hispanic men. The attention-grabbing billboard reads:
“Don’t want to get stopped by the NYPD? Stop being Black.”
The organization behind these billboards remain anonymous, but what we do know is that the campaign series is a part of a project entitled RISE. A brief excerpt, which provides background information on the campaign, found on the group’s Tumblr page reads:
“Although public commentary describes the United States as “post-racial”, racism continues to exert a very real and pervasive influence on institutional policies and processes, interpersonal interactions, neighborhood infrastructure, socioeconomic opportunities, media imagery, and more. RISE is a project designed to illuminate some of the ways in which racism operates in this country.”
According to Colorlines.com, although the group maintains their anonymity, New York activists applaud them for their efforts.
“Bed-Stuy, and Brooklyn in general, is going through a very profound transformation and we gotta put that in context [...] For many of the young yuppies and buppies, they see the police playing a positive role and trying to engage in a race neutral dialogue. What the billboard is doing is kinda opening up and exploding this myth that [stop-and-frisk] is taking place in a race neutral light — it’s making people confront it in a very real way. I applaud the effort. If the intent was to shake things up, I think they did their job,” expressed Kali Akuno, an organizer affiliated with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s New York Chapter.
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
From Black Voices
In shocking new audio recording of the NYPD performing a stop-and-frisk of a 16-year-old Harlem student, police officers are heard calling the teenager a “f**king mutt,” and threatening him with repeated violence.
The profanity-laced clip, obtained by The Nation, exposes extremely racist and violent attitudes held by the three plainclothes officers who stopped the student, named Alvin, simply because he “kept looking back” at them.
In the two-minute recording, Alvin is repeatedly heard asking the officers why they’ve stopped him, to which none of the officers provide a legitimate answer. Instead, the officers attempt to intimidate him with threats to “break [his] fucking arm” and punch him in the face.
Read more at Black Voices
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