Black People : Innocent blacks and Hispanics stand good chance of being harassed by NY Police

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Istari, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Istari

    Istari Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    [NY Times] October 29, 2010

    The Shame of New York

    By BOB HERBERT

    The whole notion of the rule of law, critical to a democracy, is
    sabotaged when the guardians of the law — in this case the officers of
    the New York City Police Department — are permitted to violate the law
    with impunity.

    The police in New York City are not just permitted, they are
    encouraged to trample on the rights of black and Hispanic New Yorkers
    by relentlessly enforcing the city’s degrading, unlawful and outright
    racist stop-and-frisk policy. Hundreds of thousands of wholly innocent
    individuals, most of them young, are routinely humiliated by the
    police, day in and day out, year after shameful year.

    Jeffrey Fagan, a professor of law and public health at Columbia
    University and a widely recognized scholar on the subject of police
    and citizen interactions, has filed a report in support of a federal
    class-action lawsuit challenging the stop-and-frisk policy as
    unconstitutional. Based on analyses of the department’s own
    statistics, he found, as the plaintiffs and other observers have
    argued all along, that seizures of weapons or contraband as a result
    of the stops “is extremely rare.”

    The rate of gun seizures is near zero — 0.15 guns seized for every 100
    stops. “The N.Y.P.D. stop-and-frisk tactics,” wrote Professor Fagan,
    “produce rates of seizures of guns or other contraband that are no
    greater than would be produced simply by chance.”

    More important, after studying six years’ worth of data, the professor
    concluded that many of the millions of stops are violations of the
    Constitution. One of a number of constitutional problems, according to
    Professor Fagan, is that the police frequently use race or national
    origin rather than reasonable suspicion as the basis for the stops.

    “I provide evidence that the N.Y.P.D. has engaged in patterns of
    unconstitutional stops of city residents that are more likely to
    affect black and Latino citizens,” he wrote.

    From 2004 through 2009, city police officers stopped people on the
    street and checked them out nearly three million times. Many were
    patted down, frisked, made to sprawl face down on the ground, or
    spread-eagle themselves against a wall or over the hood of a car.
    Nearly 90 percent of the people stopped were completely innocent of
    any wrongdoing.

    An overwhelming majority of the people stopped were black or Hispanic.
    Blacks were nine times more likely than whites to be stopped by the
    police, but no more likely than whites to be arrested as a result of
    the stops.

    While crime has been going down, the number of people getting stopped
    has been going up. More than 575,000 stops were made last year — a
    record. But 504,594 of those stops were of people who had committed no
    crime, were issued no summonses and were carrying no weapons or
    illegal substances.

    If the stops go up when crime goes down, it’s fair to wonder what
    might happen if there was no crime in the city. Mayor Michael
    Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly might decide that it is
    necessary to frisk everybody. The use of such stops has more than
    quintupled on their watch.

    The Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the class-action
    suit, wants the Police Department barred from engaging in what the
    center describes as race-based and “suspicionless stops and frisks.”

    Professor Fagan, in his report filed in connection with the suit,
    found that nearly 150,000 stops over the six-year period that he
    studied lacked any legal justification at all. An additional 544,252
    stops lacked sufficiently detailed information from the officers
    involved to determine their legality.

    I’ve no doubt that the professor’s findings are, in fact,
    conservative. But even his figures show the police to be violating the
    Constitution on a scandalously vast scale. The police use such
    specious justifications as “furtive movements” or an alleged “bulge”
    in someone’s pocket as the basis for stopping people. If you believe
    all those furtive-movement and bulging-pocket stories, I’ve got some
    antiques spanning the East River that you might be interested in.

    It’s important to keep in mind that what we are talking about here, in
    the overwhelming number of cases, are innocent people, not criminals.
    No one wants to stop the police from going after the bad guys. But
    what keeps happening with this lousy policy is that the cops target
    skin color, not the likelihood that a crime might be in progress, or
    have taken place. As Professor Fagan found, “Blacks and Latinos are
    more likely to be stopped than whites, even in areas where there are
    low crime rates and where residential populations are racially
    heterogeneous or predominantly white.”

    It doesn’t matter if innocent black or Hispanic kids are in a
    high-crime area or low, a minority area or white, they stand a good
    chance of being harassed by New York City cops.
     
  2. info-moetry

    info-moetry STAFF STAFF

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    peace

    Are you from NY?

    Cause this been going on since forever! It's happened to me for simply walking down the street carrying a bag.

    Whites are only stopped if they are seen with blacks in a black neighborhood...even in that setting it's still rare!
     
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