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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs