The New York Police Department’s (probably unConstitutional and definitely abusive) stop-and-frisk policy is used to “instill fear” in black and Hispanic youths. It’s not me saying this; it’s New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly who said it in 2010, according to New York State Senator and former police officer Eric Adams during testimony in a Federal lawsuit over the policy.
During the past 10 years, some 5 million people have been stopped by New York police for no reason other than they were walking down the street. Nearly 90 percent of them were either black or Hispanic. They were not suspected of committing a crime. Kelly just wanted to know whether they were carrying a gun.
Adams said: “[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be stopped by police.” The statement came during discussions with the elected class in New York, including former Democratic Governor David Paterson, who was deciding whether to block the NYPD from compiling a database of individuals stopped by police.
Adams testified that when he told Kelly that stop-and-frisk was probably illegal, Kelly responded: “How else are we going to get rid of guns?” The policy was supposedly designed to find illegal weapons, but only 1 percent of the stops result in guns being found.
Testimony and secret recordings from two NYPD whistle-blowers have revealed that monthly quotas for police officers include 20 summonses, one arrest and five stops. The quotas have forced police officers to knowingly break the law in order to meet the quotas.
Adams serves New York’s 20th District, which includes Brooklyn and the neighborhoods of Flatbush, Crown Heights and Brownsville. These are the areas most affected by stop-and-frisk. Adams told Alternet.org that his constituents regularly complain to him about being targets of stop-and-frisk and the “emasculating” searches that are conducted by police officers.
“When young people are afraid of gangs, and afraid of the police, they feel trapped. It’s not fair and it’s not right,” he said.
“Instilling fear” is not the job of police officers in a free country. But with statist nanny-staters like Michael Bloomberg and totalitarian thugs like Kelly in charge, New York is far from free. What it is, though, is a vision of where the country is headed, all in the name of “safety.”