News / USA

    After NYC Elections, 'Stop-and-Frisk' Debate Persists

    Mayors and Courts Battling Over Police Reforms in New Yorki
    X
    November 19, 2013 9:59 PM
    New York’s new mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, takes office on New Year’s Day, but a legal battle that emerged during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years in office is only becoming fiercer. The incoming and outgoing mayors are on opposite sides of a fight that has pitted community groups and civil libertarians against the New York police under Bloomberg. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
    Carolyn Weaver
    A bitter legal battle over reforms to the New York City Police Department, the nation’s largest, continues as a new mayor prepares to take office.
     
    The fight pits Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, community groups and civil libertarians against NYPD policies under outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who sharply defends them in court and the media.
     
    Demonstrators rallied for the reforms outside City Hall one day after electing de Blasio, who campaigned in part on promises to change NYPD policies.
     
    Rally speakers, including U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler and several City Council members, together with representatives from local Latino, Arab-American and Muslim organizations, among others, called for changes in policing practices they call abusive and racially discriminatory.
     
    The primary issue concerns a practice known as "stop-and-frisk," in which police detain, question and often search people on the street. In August, federal judge Shira Scheindlin ordered reforms to the practice after finding that police had often violated the Constitutional rights of minorities by enacting stop-and-frisk procedures without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and that the city’s highest officials had “willfully ignored overwhelming proof” of racial profiling by police.
     
    In a decision issued after a class action lawsuit, Scheindlin wrote that people “who would not have been stopped if they were white,” were searched unlawfully. According to evidence presented at trial, from 2004 to 2012 hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers — over 80 percent of them young men of color — were stopped and searched by police who had no objective basis for suspicion. The majority were let go without an arrest or summons after being found without weapons or contraband.
     
    In many police reports, the judge wrote, the only basis reported for a stop was that the subject was in a “high crime” area, or had made “furtive movements.”
     
    During the trial, some police testified that an illegal quota system that pressured them to make at least 25 stops a month or face discipline was used as a job performance metric.
     
    “We were stopping kids walking home from school,” NYPD officer Adhyl Polanco told ABC News. “We were stopping kids from walking upstairs to their house. We were stopping kids from going to the store.”
     
    New York's outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly angrily rejected Scheindlin’s ruling, which the city has since appealed.
     
    “We do not engage in racial profiling. It is prohibited by law; it is prohibited by our own regulations," Kelly said at a news conference. "We train our officers [that] they need reasonable suspicion.”
     
    Crime in New York has declined sharply over the last decade even as the number of stops increased, Mayor Bloomberg said, in part because knowledge of the aggressive policing deterred many from carrying weapons.
     
    “Stop, question, frisk has saved countless lives, and we know that most of those lives saved, based on the statistics, have been black and Hispanic young men,” he said.
     
    In a rare move in late October, a three-judge appeals court panel removed Scheindlin from the case and ordered a temporary stay in the reforms, saying that her comments to the news media could lead a “reasonable observer” to question her impartiality.
     
    The panel did not act to vacate the ruling as requested by the Bloomberg administration, and demonstrators have called on the mayor to drop the city’s appeal to the ruling now, since Mayor-elect de Blasio has said police reforms will go forward when he takes office regardless of what happens in court.
     
    In a separate study of the NYPD released in mid-November, New York State’s Attorney General reported that stop-and-frisks from 2009 to 2012 targeted mostly young men of color, and did not reduce crime.
     
    The study found that only about 3 percent of those who were stopped and frisked were later convicted, mostly for misdemeanors, such as carrying small amounts of marijuana.
     
    Whites and Asians arrested for carrying marijuana, the report said, were 50 percent more likely to have their cases adjourned and later dismissed.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anatoliy from: NY
    November 19, 2013 6:44 PM
    The system is realy work. Now NY is one of most safety place in US. And most color people in NY know the Bloomberg right abut stop-and-frisk. The new mayer in New York really is really very wrong .
    It's not about racial profiling - and about criminal activites among young color people. Noone say nothing about chines etc...

    by: Roger from: NEW YORK
    November 19, 2013 6:20 PM
    Stop and frisk innocent people, when its a FACT that the CIA, arms, funds, runs, trains and created Al Qaeda. What is wrong with this picture?????????????????????????
    In Response

    by: Anatoliy from: NY
    November 21, 2013 5:29 AM
    One time police check me up. I was tired and sleeping in subway car so its looked suspicious. It's not racial stuff - it's our reality and it stupid close eyes on criminals just because some idiots thinks that is "racial profiling".

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora