Is the Stop-and-Frisk policy anything more than a racial profiling tool being used to criminalize minorities?
A silent march by thousands of people in New York City protesting police “stop-and-frisk” tactics on Sunday was punctuated by an explosion of loud voices.
“We’ve got to fight back, we can’t be silent!” a group of activists shouted as they passed the home of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just off Fifth Avenue.
Critics say the NYPD’s practice of stopping, questioning and searching people who police consider suspicious is illegal and humiliating to thousands of law-abiding blacks and Hispanics.
Last year, the NYPD stopped more than 685,000 people, mostly black and Hispanic young men — up from about 97,000 a decade earlier, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which also was to join the march. About half of those stopped are frisked, and about 10 percent are arrested.
“In most cities, when you ask who gets beaten up by the cops, the answer comes back: black people, people of color, and the gay community,” Benjamin Jealous, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said on MSNBC.
Jealous said that “the notion that this make us safer really defies logic,” noting that other large cities have cut their crime rate without resorting to stop-and-frisk methods.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defend the policy, saying the program keeps guns off New York streets and helps stop crime before it happens.
Speaking at a Christian cultural center on Sunday in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said he is working with police to ensure that people are treated respectfully when they are stopped.
“I cannot in good conscience walk away from work that I know will save the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters, and I will not,” the mayor said.
Do you agree with the Stop-and-Frisk police? Or is it just another way for the police to harass people of color and other minority groups?
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