Voices from All Over Manhattan—Eastside and Westside, Uptown and Downtown—Call For Reform of a Policy that as Currently Practiced Targets Black and Latino Men

BP stands with a diverse coalition of elected officials, community and religious leaders to criticize a program that fails to meet objectives and sows distrust toward law enforcement

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, joined by a diverse coalition of elected officials, community and religious leaders representing all parts of Manhattan, today held a rally hailing the Manhattan Borough Board’s recent unanimous vote approving a resolution demanding reform of the NYPD’s controversial Stop and Frisk Policy. The Borough President called for a citywide campaign against the program, which unfairly targets Black and Latino men.

“Stop and Frisk as currently practiced is not just an outrage in communities of color–it is a stain on the conscience of our entire City,” said the Borough President. “Today I am standing with a broad coalition of Manhattanites – members of all 12 Community Boards, people from Eastside and Westside, Downtown and Uptown, and we are all speaking with one voice, demanding an immediate reform of Stop and Frisk in New York City.”

“This policy has failed to meet its basic objectives and has been sowing deep distrust toward law enforcement at a time when we should be working with communities to get guns off our streets. This is a conversation that must take place in all corners of our City, not just in neighborhoods where the damage has been done,” said Stringer. “I’m here to tell you that this important conversation is beginning today, here and now.”

The Borough President pointed to statistics showing that the NYPD recorded nearly 700,000 stop and frisk encounters in 2011, a record number and a 600% increase since 2002. Police failed to find a gun in 99.9% of these encounters, and failed to make an arrest in 94% of these cases. Nearly 86% of the stops targeted Black and Latino men.

“Until we know that law enforcement is truly color blind in New York, we will have a continuing crisis on our streets,” Stringer said. “It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to stand up and address this issue honestly–to ensure that protections against unconstitutional searches and seizures apply equally to all people in this City, and to promote law enforcement policies that work with communities and make them safer.”

“Any policy that disproportionately targets and affects the minority populations is a clear violation of their civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Congressman Charles B. Rangel. “The growing number of stop-and-frisk searches on innocent black and minority youth is extremely alarming and must be stopped. As a strong voice in Congress advocating for fairness in our nation’s criminal justice system, I join Manhattan Borough President Stringer and other community leaders in supporting this resolution that calls on NYPD to implement more just and fair measures to keep protecting our community.”

“The stop and frisk policy is a discriminatory practice that disproportionately targets minorities,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. “Rather than engaging in tactics that violate New Yorkers civil rights, the police department should focus on engaging our communities and promoting cultural understanding.”

“The New York Police Department’s stop, question, and-frisk practices have over the years raised serious concerns about racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights. While I applaud the police department in their efforts to keep guns off our streets, I strongly believe it is time to examine and reform this policy, said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We must have balance. We must demand that our police department is better trained to work with our communities in a respectful manner, while also supporting the hard work of the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect our residents each day.”

“An effective police force must have strong working relationships with the communities it is sworn to protect,” said Senator Thomas K. Duane. “Unfortunately, the NYPD’s Stop, Question and Frisk practices have raised legitimate concerns about racial profiling, illegal stops and violations of privacy rights. While the NYPD has unquestionably performed well in reducing crime and establishing an open and honest dialogue with the residents of our City, the disproportionate numbers of innocent black and Latino New Yorkers subjected to ‘stop-and-frisk’ have sewn distrust and animosity toward the Department in many communities. Moreover, as a volunteer civics teacher in a New York City public high school, I have heard of the negative impact that this policy has had on young people who have been stopped by police. I join Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the Manhattan Borough Cabinet and so many other advocates and elected officials in calling for reform of the NYPD’s Stop, Question and Frisk policies.”

“I’m proud to stand with Borough President Stringer and advocates from every corner of our City who understand that Stop and Frisk is an unfair and dangerous policy,” said Senator Adriano Espaillat. “Together, we must continue our work to end Stop and Frisk, and build bridges, not suspicion, between law enforcement and communities throughout New York.”

“In large parts of the City, today’s stop and frisk policies have made entire communities feel like suspects targeted by law enforcement, instead of citizens protected by it, even if they have done nothing wrong,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “As it’s practiced, stop-and-frisk has created a climate in which young black and Latino men and their families have a fundamentally different

relationship with the NYPD than other New Yorkers. Though Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD deserve credit for their success in reducing crime and their work responding to many community concerns, the time has come for the department to reform stop and frisk and begin to repair the relationships the current policy has frayed. In Albany, we need to help by repealing the ‘in plain view’ marijuana possession statute which is enforced inconsistently and leads to some of stop and frisk’s greatest inequities.”

“New York City owes a debt of gratitude to the New York Police Department (NYPD), who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep this City safe. Despite their bravery and hard work, however, stop and frisk continues to be a misguided policy which has the effect of criminalizing innocent people, most of whom are racial or ethnic minorities,” said Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. “The fact that 88% of the nearly 685,000 New Yorkers who were stopped and frisked last year were innocent of any crime, and that 85% were either black or Latino demonstrates that this policy is being implemented in a discriminatory way and is in desperate need of immediate change. Targeting young blacks and Latinos in such a way creates an undercurrent of distrust that makes communities unsafe, wastes limited City resources and is just patently unfair. I am proud to stand with Manhattan Borough Scott M. Stringer to work toward much-needed reform.”

“Stop and Frisk has become a textbook of wrongheaded police practices: racial profiling, quotas, insult and intimidation, and wasted resources. It fails its stated goals: it does not reduce crime, find lots of illegal guns, or put bad guys permanently off the street,” said Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. “What it does do is alienate and antagonize its victims. By targeting people who are not white, stop and frisk goes against what I believe New York should be about, and what our Constitution says it is about: equal treatment before the law.”

“NYPD’s misguided stop and frisk policy has significantly increased under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tenure, encouraging racial profiling,” said Councilmember Letitia James. “We must reevaluate how the NYPD assesses our young men and women of color before they are ‘stopped and frisked’ and question whether this policy is an effective crime-fighting tool.”

“One out of every twelve New Yorkers was stopped and questioned by the NYPD last year, and we’re on track to see a million New Yorkers stopped annually within a decade” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “When the vast majority of those stopped are young, Black and Latino men, we’re sending the message that our city sees them as criminals. We deserve better, and I’m calling on the Mayor and Commissioner Kelly to limit the use of this tactic, before it affects a million New Yorkers a year.”

“The gross misuse of stop, question and frisk is a citywide issue. It impacts a broad number of our communities, and even those communities which have yet to be impacted understand that basic civil rights are at stake,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “Furthermore, we all are united behind the notion that greater NYPD accountability will result in safer streets and better policing for every single New Yorker. In short, a rising tide lifts all boats, and I am pleased that Borough President Stringer is helping to lead the turning of the tide.”

“Stop and Frisk is a reflection of the New Jim Crow,” said Sheila Rule, co-founder of the Think
Outside the Cell Foundation. “We must not tolerate it.”

“At the Fortune Society, we work with thousands of young men and women of color who are randomly Stopped and Frisked regularly in their neighborhoods,” said Glenn Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs and Public Affairs and Director of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy at the Fortune Society. “Unfortunately, at a time when these young men and women are shaping their identity and roles in society, we are sending them a clear message that we do not value their inclusion or trust them to be law-abiding citizens. It’s not a question of whether Stop and Frisk works to reduce crime, instead it’s a question of ‘at what cost?'”