Stop-and-Frisk Critics Unite Under One Police Reform Campaign

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Criticism of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices have come from a wide range of elected officials and advocacy groups across the city. Now, in an effort to bolster the campaign for increased police accountability, dozens of organizations are joining forces under the umbrella of one campaign that aims to make the topic of police reform a major one in the upcoming mayoral election.

The new coalition, Communities United for Police Reform, or CPR, is officially launching this month with a "Week of Action" starting Sunday and has already brought together, thus far, around 30 organizations that support the cause.

Earlier this month, the Voice ran a cover story on the city's controversial policy, which allowed cops to stop more than 600,000 people in 2010. The largest age group is males 15 to 19, the majority of New Yorkers stopped are black and Hispanic, and overall, only nine percent of the stops result in arrests.

This latest push to bring stop-and-frisk reform talk into the forefront also has strong support from some in the City Council, notably vocal NYPD critic Councilman Jumaane Williams -- who is proposing legislation that would require cops to give out business cards when they stop people.

This morning, Runnin' Scared caught up with a representative from one of the partner organizations to discuss the larger goals of this initiative and how the groups came together.

"A lot of our organizations have relationships with each other and have been doing work around police reform accountability for years," said Yul-san Liem, a member of an organization called the Justice Committee, which is one of the steering committees of CPR.

"At this point...we recognize that it's an epidemic," she said of stop-and-frisk. "It's time to come together in a very coordinated multi-sectored way to demand that the problem be changed."

The glaring statistics are a major motivating factor for the effort, she said. "All of the organizations in CPR feel like the new stop-and-frisk statistics are an outrage."

This kind of diverse, unified effort -- that is bringing together research, outreach, education, and policy experts -- is unprecedented in the push for police accountability in the city, Liem said. "This is the first time this kind of work is so tightly coordinated across sectors."

Stop-and-frisk is the central target of the campaign, though Liem said there are many other related concerns such as the NYPD's policies relating to the homeless and police treatment of LGBT New Yorkers.

At a press conference on education this afternoon, Runnin' Scared stopped Councilman Robert Jackson -- who is very likely to run for Manhattan borough president -- and asked him his thoughts on the campaign.

"What it does is it helps to bring focus to the issue. It helps bring transparency and hopefully will bring more accountability," Jackson said, adding that this kind of effort is especially important given the latest controversy around the NYPD spying on Muslim student groups.

After we asked him how he thought this campaign could impact the 2013 mayoral elections, he said, "It will become an issue, and I think that mayoral candidates are going to have to speak up and ask for transparency and accountability and not in essence spying on people just because of their religions. That's a no-brainer."

Liem said that influencing elections is an important part of the new campaign. "We want...New Yorkers to demand that this be a big issue in the coming 2013 mayoral race. We will be letting folks know where candidates stand on the issue, demanding that candidates speak up about the issue. We are in this for the long haul."

Not all City Council members have been cheering the effort. Queens Councilman Peter Vallone wrote on his Facebook page yesterday, in reference to the death of a child in a drive-by shooting: "i ask the electeds who oppose "stop and question" , please explain to little armando and his parents, and parents throughout the city - if police should not stop and question someone who they reasonably suspect to have a gun, how would you get that gun off the street BEFORE the drive-by happens?? i understand it's controversial and needs to be closely monitored for abuse, but if you want to end it, what is your alternative for the NYPD??? is it just watching the videotape? hopefully the press asks THAT question at the next press conference..."

We thought we'd asked Liem that question -- what about public safety and getting guns off the street? She responded that stop-and-frisk in its current form harms police-community relations: "It's actually a detriment to community safety... At this point, we have young people who are afraid to walk to school and that's not okay."

Runnin' Scared reached out to the NYPD for a response to the campaign. We'll update if we hear back.

[SamTLevin / @SamTLevin]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.


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4 comments
Sa Abdulhakimbey
Sa Abdulhakimbey

Dr. Shamsuddin A. Abdul-Hakim Bey, M.H.S.

Moorish Holistic Scientist

with The Moorish American Nationals

1600 Sedgwick Avenue

Bronx, New York 10453

 

 

A Very Serious MatterNeeding Investigation

 

            An Incidentinvolving alleged U.S. Marshalls saying they were from the Bronx, New York 44thPct. Special Tactical Task Force Unit occurred to me personally (Dr. ShamsuddinA. Abdul-Hakim Bey). On Wednesday, March 14, 2012 between the hours of 11:15Amand 12:06Pm, three alleged U.S.Marshallsapproached me for an illegal search and seizure. I was on my way to check mymailbox, and the three officers of which one who would not after this incidentgive me his name (other than Officer – Pena) as he called himself pointed a gunto my head while all three refused at anytime to produce a {Shield}. They askedme as I was coming from my mailbox getting ready to get back on my buildingselevator; I         was ordered to liedown on the ground while their guns were still pointed at my head.

            They thenas I laid there began to search my pockets and after searching finding, nothingof interest to them told me to stand up with my hands at my side. They told methat they thought the wallet I had in my pocket was a gun. {Similar to the Ahmad Dialoincident not far from my residence in the Bronxwhere a few years back he was killed.}

Upon standing, I had another item still in my pocket whichwas some business cards. They asked me with their guns still drawn what elsewas in my pocket. I told them to go ahead and search my pocket; they asked methe same question again, what was in my pockets. I told them again, to go aheadand search my pocket, then they went ahead deciding to do so and finishedemptying my pockets. All the while their guns were pointed at my head, andwitnesses in my building being my friends, neighbors, super, assistant super,and my buildings security officer (who could testify of my total and completeinnocence by character of not being ever involved in any incidents in mybuilding) looking on.

            These threeofficers came and attacked me at random, in front of witnesses with their gunsout. I must say that this entire incident was caught on my buildings interiorand exterior cameras. I must say as well that I have a clean record ofinnocence as well with No criminal or other activity of any kind on any recordin my recent years of history. It must be said that when I asked for theirinformation (these three supposed U.S. Marshall Officers) two of which ran outof my buildings lobby quickly, refused to give me anything. I would like tostate here that I am a Moorish American National.

 

Me Trying to Get aPolice Report on this Matter

 

I tried to get a report of this incident to be filed in the 46th Police Precinct of my neighborhood district, on Friday, March 16, 2012 between 8:15Pm and 8:26Pm by calling 911. In following up to see if one had been filed since nothing was given me I found that nothing had been filed at the particular time of between 10:00Pm and 12:17Am. This was between the dates of  {March 16th  going into March 17, 2012 Friday going into Saturday} after having talked with my sister and aunt whom my aunt was very vehement about being sure this was done. My aunt even told me to go directly to the 46th Police Precinct which I was vehemently hesitant to do because of what happened.  At around 1:30Am police came again and this time distinctly outright refused to give me any kind of a police report pertaining to what I had told them about this incident on March 14, 2012 Wednesday between {11:15Am and 12:06Pm}. They told me to call the 44th precinct because I had suggested to {Officer Pena, the gun man who pointed his gun to my head on March 14th. I had asked Pena if he were out the 46th local precinct or the 44th precinct [since I knew that the 44th precinct had a tactical task force there. Officer Pena agreed that he was out of the 44th precinct based on my suggestion to him about it. Upon calling the 44th precinct they told me that my resident address where this actually had happened was out of their district, and to go back to the 46th precinct to see if it would a report for me. This happened on or around Saturday, March 17, 2012. Then, at around 2:24Am Saturday approximately, the same officers who came at 1:30 came again and refused to help me with any report. These officers the ones that came around 1:30Am and 2:24Am said that No crime was committed in having had a gun pointed to my head on Wednesday, March 14th 2012 by Officer Pena. And, the others who said they were U.S. Marshalls, and did not produce any shields when I asked them about it, with their finding that I was clean and innocent of anything that they stopped me for on my way to my elevator trying to go back upstairs minding my own business being then randomly attacked by them (U.S. Marshalls). It should be stated all the while that I did not know if they were real U.S. Marshalls or not, because they did not produce any shields.

 

 

Matthew Swaye
Matthew Swaye

Baruch Hashem. Jumanne is a mensch.

Black and Brown people in NYC are under attack. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

NYPD Arresting Elders in Harlem

                                                                     Whose side are you on?

SMIN
SMIN

C. Quinn is an idiot. The police stopped more than -- probably way more than -- 680,000 people last year that they "reasonably suspected" of having a weapon. In only 800 cases was a firearm picked up. This is a "success rate" of what, way less than 1%. In what other business do we say, "oh here is a policy that fails 99 percent of the time, keep up the good work." The draconian policy of stop and frisk, which terrorizes communities throughout NYC, clearly was not effective in stopping the death of the boy she recognizes here, nor the death of Marley Graham, murdered by the police two weeks ago. Get a clue. There is NO, none, zip, empirical evidence supporting the idea that stop and frisk is effective at reducing crime. If you have some, please send it my way. @stopmassincnet:twitter 

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