It’s great to see Governor Cuomo that will force the NYPD to obey the spirit of our laws and not just the letter. Commissioner Kelly’s stated policy change in marijuana arrests some months ago resulted in only a minimal change in the way marijuana law was enforced, and it is clear that the law needs to be rewritten.
However, this does not address the base reality that the stop-and-frisk policy primarily and unfairly targets black and Latino New Yorkers, regardless of arrest rates. The NYPD’s own data shows that in 2011, 84% of all stops were of black and Latino New Yorkers. Only 4.7% of New Yorkers are black or Latino youth between the ages of 14 and 24, and yet they accounted for a whopping 41.6% of all searches under the City’s stop and frisk policy – a wildly disproportionate number and an astounding indicator of racial profiling and separate treatment by race and age.
Arrests and convictions of our minority youth have serious repercussions on their future success, leading to difficulties in getting student loans and meaningful employment. We must think carefully about policies that damage our children’s future before they even begin their lives.
Within our communities, stop and frisk creates an atmosphere of fear and distrust, particularly in communities with high crime. Residents not only have to fear becoming victims of criminals – they also have to fear being victimized and racially profiled by those whose job it is to protect them.
The safety of our community and city is of utmost importance, and we need to work out as a city and as a community how to keep our city safe AND not target minority youth unfairly.
This Father's Day, Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform will join hundreds of Community Organizations, Unions, and thousands of citizens to silently march down Fifth Avenue to protest stop-and-frisk policing. The silent march has a long history in the civil rights movement and is a perfect counterpoint to the violence stop and frisk does to the black and Latino community. This entrenched policy will never change without broad and vocal community support – so join us on Father's Day, and tell Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly that we need a serious change.
For more information on stop and frisk’s harmful effects on our communities, visit NYCLU's campaign to reform stop and frisk.