NEW YORK – Elected officials charging racism are trying to end a New York City police policy that permits officers to stop someone and pat him down for weapons or contraband if they suspect criminal activity.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the program is preventing crime. Opponents say it overwhelmingly targets racial minorities.
Rep. Yvette Clarke, a Democrat from Brooklyn, met Thursday with Justice Department officials to request an investigation of the practice.
Clarke says the program, known as "Stop, Question and Frisk" or "Stop and Frisk," amounts to racial profiling. It is based on a 1968 Supreme Court ruling that police could stop people on the basis of "reasonable suspicion."
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin approved class action status for a lawsuit that alleges the practice subjects people to race-based illegal searches.
The NAACP, Al Sharpton's National Action Network and the Service Employees International Union are planning a protest rally June 17 in New York.
A study by the New York Civil Liberties Union found a sharp increase in the number of people stopped under the program: up more than 600% from 97,296 in 2002 to 685,724 last year. The study said 90% of those stopped were neither arrested nor ticketed, and about 87% were black or Hispanic.
Bloomberg said at a press conference May 16 Stop and Frisk has taken 6,000 guns off city streets in the past eight years and has saved the lives of 5,600 people over the past decade.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, said the program is a failure in stemming gun violence. Police found one gun for every 3,000 people stopped, he said.
"The policy is either accidentally, incidentally or purposely racist, however you slice it," he said.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Is Stop and Frisk really just racial profiling?
What do you think about the "stop and frisk" program? Is it really just a way to racial profile someone? Does it really help stop criminals? Yvette Clarke is trying to end that program.