Intimidation of Minorities Said to be Intent of NYPD “Stop and Frisk” Program

Wednesday, April 03, 2013
(AP Photo)

The New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” program has come under legal and political assault, with critics claiming it has been used to target and intimidate minorities.


State Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), a former NYPD captain, said the stop-and-frisk policy was implemented to “instill fear” among young black and Hispanic men. Adams accused Police Commissioner Ray Kelly of admitting to this during a July 2010 meeting in Manhattan with several officials, including then-Governor of New York David Paterson. Kelly’s comments were allegedly made in the course of lobbying against the signing of a bill to abolish a database of innocent people who have been stopped by police.


Adams’ remarks were contained in an affidavit produced for a lawsuit by four black men challenging the policy in court. Kelly has denied Adams’ depiction of his remarks during the meeting.


“At that meeting I did not, nor would I ever, state or suggest that the New York City Police Department targets young black and Latino men for stop and frisk activity,” Kelly said in a reply affidavit. Kelly did admit that the street stops have “deterrence” value.


The plaintiffs in the suit want the NYPD to stop profiling minorities and to undergo court oversight to ensure the department no longer violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable or unlawful searches.


It has been reported that during the past decade the NYPD has stopped around five million people, of whom almost 90% are Latino or black.


-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Street Stops Used for Fear, N.Y. Senator Says (by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service)

Ray Kelly Admitted Cops Target Blacks, Hispanics in 'Stop-Frisk,' State Lawmaker Testifies (by Bruce Golding, New York Post)

Sen. Eric Adams: NYPD Commissioner Told Me Cops Use Stop-and-Frisk to Instill Fear in Youths of Color (by Kristen Gwynne, AlterNet)

NYPD Practice of Stopping and Frisking Pedestrians Is Ruled Unconstitutional (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

New York City Police Accused of Arrest Quotas and Doctoring Figures (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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