Despite considerable pressure from Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, Governor Paterson will today sign legislation ending the NYPD's electronic database of innocent individuals who wind up on the receiving end of the controversial "stop and frisk" policy. Kelly met personally with Paterson twice this week to ask him to veto the bill, presenting the governor with summaries of 170 cases since 2007 in which he said the database proved pivotal in identifying and apprehending perps. According to the Times, those included 17 murders, 36 robberies and 8 sex crimes.
But after reviewing the first 25 cases presented by Kelly, the Times reports that "it was sometimes difficult to determine how the information from the street stops had been crucial in solving the crimes." NYPD officers stopped and questioned or frisked people more than 575,000 times last year, the most ever. According to the NYCLU, nearly nine out of 10 of those stopped and questioned by police last year were neither arrested nor issued a summons, and more than 80 percent were black or Latino. Whether they were arrested or not, their names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal information were entered into the database.
During a radio interview yesterday, Paterson said, "I think the agreement would be that people who are found to be doing nothing wrong in the United States of America should not have information about them floating around the Police Department, but if there is a value to it, well that's a different story." The database will now still include a record of the stop, including the person’s age and race and the location and reason for it, which the City Council required in order to evaluate the racial element of the stop and frisk policy.
But Big Brother Kelly wants you to know that by not keeping innocent people in his precious database, Paterson is making the city unsafe! "Without it, there will be, inevitably, killers and other criminals who won't be captured as quickly or perhaps ever," Kelly said in a statement. "They'll be free to threaten our neighborhoods longer than they would have been otherwise. Albany has robbed us of a great crime-fighting tool, one that saved lives." And for the cherry on top, here's the reaction from our favorite law enforcement reactionaries over at NYPD Rant: "This bill was crafted to hinder the Police/NYPD by the usual race hustlers and criminal lovers." Criminals—we love 'em!