NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has long maintained that the department's controversial stop-and-frisk strategy does not target New Yorkers based on the color of their skin, despite the fact that in fifty-one percent of those stopped last year were black and 32 percent Hispanic. A federal trial challenging the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk is currently underway in federal court in Manhattan, and today a State Senator testified that Kelly once admitted to him that stop-and-frisk targeted blacks and Hispanics—and that the policy was intended to "instill fear."
State Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat who is also a former police captain, testified that during a meeting with Kelly in 2010, he complained to the commissioner that stop-and-frisk disproportionally impacted blacks and Hispanics. Adams says Kelly responded that "he targeted or focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that any time they leave their homes they could be targeted by police." Adams testified that he told Kelly that was illegal.
According to Adams, Kelly also asked, "How else are we going to get rid of guns?" (Today, as it happens, Kelly is holding a press conference at One Police Plaza to announce the results of a church gun buy-back.) During cross examination, the Post reports that city lawyer Heidi Grossman tried to read a statement from Kelly denying the remarks, but Judge Shira Scheindlin wouldn't let her, explaining that it would be a "back door" way of introducing testimony from Kelly without having him testify. Judge Scheindlin said, "If he'd like to come here, he's welcome in this courtroom."