Calling New York City’s “stop and frisk” law “the most massive local racial profiling program in the country,” NAACP president Benjamin Jealous will be joined by 1199 SEIU President George Gresham, the Rev. Al Sharpton, members of the clergy, community members, civil rights leaders and elected officials on June 17, which happens to be Father’s Day, in a “Silent March to End Stop-and-Frisk.” This action will take place almost a month to the day after federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin granted class action status to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2008 to demand an end to “stop and frisk.”
Those living outside of New York City might not be aware of the racial profiling allegations leveled at the New York Police Department over its controversial “stop and frisk” policy that allows a police offer to stop anyone in the city and pat them down without reason. In the majority of these stops “anyone” is black or Hispanic. And the majority of those subjected to the humiliating procedure were found to be innocent of any crime.
In a press release announcing the march, the American Civil Liberties Union decried the assumption that stopping and frisking citizens will remove vast quantities of weapons from the streets, stating “The NYPD’s own data undermine many of the Bloomberg administration’s justifications for the stop-and-frisk program. Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of fathers and sons from communities of color to trust and respect the police.”
The New York ACLU states that nine out of ten people who were stopped and frisked by the police in NYC since 2002 were innocent . In a break down of stop and frisk statistics going back to 2002, the ACLU found that the number of people stopped in frisked by police rose from 97,296 in 2002 to an astounding 685,724 in 2011. The NY ACLU provided the following information on the first three months of 2012:
In the first three months of 2012, 203,500 New Yorkers were stopped by the police.
181,457 were totally innocent (89 percent).
108,097 were black (54 percent).
69,043 were Latino (33 percent).
18,387 were white (9 percent).
The New York Times reported NY Police Commisioner Raymond’s Kelly’s flippant response to Judge Scheinlin’s decsions as, “It is what it is.” click here to go to website
But Kelly did send out a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn after that decision, which included measures that have been put in place. The New York Post reported these measures as being:
Stepped up internal audits of stop-and-frisk records
Agreeing to work more closely with the Civilian Complaint Review Board
Revised training for how to conduct stop-and-frisks
Stepped up community outreach programs for at-risk youth.
These measures might seem too little, too late for the individuals who were caught up in almost 4,500,000 stop and frisk actions, the majority of whom were African-American or Latino ( and innocent).