It's continuing to be a banner year for street shakedowns as the NYPD has stopped 514,000 people through September 2011, 13% higher than 2010. According to the NYCLU, 4 million people have been stopped since the program began in 2004. Did the lucky 4 millionth customer win a wheelbarrow full of NYPD swag? Were they allowed to keep their dignity and take a photo with NYPD's stop-and-frisk mascot, Patty, The Firm Hand Of Justice?
Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of those stopped are people of color, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne tells the Daily News that the stops are fair, and save lives: "Police stops comport proportionately with violent crime and save lives, most of young minority men who are disproportionately the victims of murder and other violent crime."
The NYCLU report notes that "All five precincts with the fewest stop-and-frisk encounters are concentrated below 59th Street in Manhattan and are majority white," including the Financial District and the West Village. "Racially biased policing undermines trust between residents and police, harming public safety," executive director of the NYCLU Donna Lieberman says in a release. "It’s time to hold the NYD accountable for its unlawful and destructive stop-and-frisk practices.”
That's what Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, along with State Sen. Eric Adams, City Councilmen Juumane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez are attempting to do by asking the federal government to probe the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.
Besides making people late for dinner, the stops are excellent at procuring low-level marijuana arrests. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly recently reminded his department that marijuana is decriminalized when not in public view, but this directive seems counterintuitive if more stop and frisks keep exposing your stash to the harsh light of day.