A shocking audio recording shows NYPD officers callingan African-American teenager a “fucking mutt,” and threatening him with repeated violence during a stop-and-frisk of the 16-year-old Harlem student.
The profanity-laced clip, obtained by The Nation, exposes the racist behavior and violent predisposition by the three plainclothes officers who stopped the student, named Alvin, simply because he “kept looking back” at them. (more…)
Police barricades allegedly meant to “crack down on drug-related gang violence” in Harlem are now the source of controversy themselves. For the last two weeks, police have been putting up metal barricades at 129th Street between Fifth and Seventh Avenue to check IDs of people going in and out of the blocks. If individuals do not live on the block, they have to get a resident to come and vouch for them. Police said the barricades were set up following the shooting of a 25-year-old man while he was playing basketball earlier this month. Authorities said they received word from community leaders that there was going to be some sort of retaliation from gang members because of the shooting.
Some locals say it is a good measure because police are stopping violence, but others say they are concerned because it is like putting the entire community on lockdown. “Some people have bags, they have to put their groceries down to show ID? I don’t think that’s right, do you?” said one local. “I’m an old woman, I can’t be showing my ID every time I walk.” “They screen people, but then you’ve got other people that are new to the block that come in vehicles and I’ve seen them waving through, you know, so that’s one of the downsides of the checkpoint, that it creates selective screening and stuff like that,” said one resident. “I don’t think it’s effective, really.” (more…)
The Scars of Stop-and-Frisk
A short documentary film on New York’s stop-and-frisk policing focuses on Tyquan Brehon, a young man in Brooklyn who says he was stopped more than 60 times before age 18.
On Friday NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued a directive to all precincts ordering them to stop arresting New Yorkers for small quantities of marijuana if the marijuana is not in plain view.
This is a major reversal for a department that took great pride in its aggressive policing policy. Conducting 600,000 stop-and-frisks, the NYPD made more than 50,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2010. Although marijuana is decriminalized in New York, making possession only a ticketable offense, police have exploited a loophole in the law, routinely tricking and intimidating citizens into “voluntarily” revealing their contraband. This so-called “brandishing” of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime. (more…)
More than 600,000 people were stopped and questioned by police last year – the highest number since the NYPD began releasing the data in 2002. Police stopped 601,055 people in 2010, an increase of about 4.3% from the 575,304 stopped the year before. Of those stopped, about 14% were given summonses or arrested. The remaining 86% were questioned, but not charged or issued a summons. It’s not clear how many were frisked.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the numbers show glaring disparities between whites and people of color stopped by police. Black and Latino men accounted for 85% of the stops last year. “Unfortunately, the pattern of stopping innocent New Yorkers continues,” Lieberman said. “The pattern of stopping enormous numbers of overwhelmingly African-American and Latino men continues.” (more…)