Cops Reflect on Stop-and-Frisk Pressures, Racial Profiling

Ian Culley
This week in the Voice, we talk to current and former law enforcement officers who have actually faced stop-and-frisk themselves when they are off-duty, walking home in their neighborhoods or driving around the city in their cars. These retired and active cops say that stop-and-frisk is such a common experience for young black and Latino men in New York City, that it's almost inevitable that men of color are stopped and questioned by a cop at some point -- even if they are officers.

With stop-and-frisk an increasingly hot topic in the news lately -- and an important battleground for the 2013 mayoral hopefuls trying to secure minority votes -- we thought we'd bring you some reflections on the policy and its implementation from some New York Police Department officers who actually conduct the stops.

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The Anti-Facebook: Photos Unveiled One Year Later in Washington Heights Art Project

Mike Fitelson
Part of "Message Delayed"
Washington Heights photographer Mike Fitelson is taking Facebook status updates and instant photo sharing and turning them upside down.

That is, he is taking the process of sharing thoughts and photos online and slowing it down and simplifying it dramatically -- and bringing the whole thing off line. It's part of a year-long project he is unveiling tomorrow at a street festival in his neighborhood.

The effort began last June at the Carnaval del Boulevard festival uptown. Fitelson, previously an associate publisher at northern Manhattan's community newspaper, the Manhattan Times, stopped neighborhood residents passing by, took portrait shots of them, and asked them each a simple question: "What's on your mind?"

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Mayor Bloomberg On Stop-And-Frisk: We're Better Than Philadelphia And D.C.

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Sam Levin
Mayor Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion talking to reporters yesterday.
New Yorkers who don't like stop-and-frisk can go live in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and see how they like the murder rates there!

This is what a pretty braggy Mike Bloomberg said yesterday in response to a question from the Voice about the logic behind his repeated defense of the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy -- that it saves thousands of lives.

We were interested in the argument of Michael Powell at the Times, who recently questioned the go-to response of the mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly that stop-and-frisk has played an important role over the past decade in saving 5,600 lives.

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Mayor Bloomberg Wants More Control Over Sexual Misconduct Cases in Schools

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Sam Levin
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and State Senator Stephen Saland
Mike Bloomberg announced a new piece of legislation this afternoon that would give the mayor, via the city's school chancellor, more power to dismiss teachers who engage in acts of sexual misconduct in the classroom.

You'd think that inappropriate sexual behavior form teachers is something everyone could agree on, but apparently not.

Today's announcement from the mayor's office has already sparked an (admittedly unsurprising) war of words between the mayor and the Teachers Union with regards to how school systems across the state respond to allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior in schools.

Under the proposed statewide legislation, championed by the mayor today and brought forth by State Senator Stephen Saland, school districts would have enhanced abilities to dismiss teachers in sexual misconduct cases by having the final say of what action should ultimately be taken.

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Adam Clayton Powell IV Endorses Charlie Rangel: 'We've Always Been Friends...Even When I Ran Against Him'

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Sam Levin
Adam Clayton Powell IV and Charlie Rangel on 125th Street today.
It's just politics!

That's how Adam Clayton Powell IV brushed aside questions today about why he is endorsing longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel for re-election -- after running against him (and thus frequently and harshly criticizing him) in a crowded race two years ago.

In one of the most watched local congressional races, Rangel, the incumbent who has held his Harlem seat for 40 years, is facing tough opposition in the primary as he fights to be re-elected to Congress to represent a newly-drawn district that now includes parts of the Bronx and has a larger Latino population.

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John Liu is Concerned About Income Inequality; Mayor Bloomberg Says We Need the One Percent

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Sam Levin
Mayor Mike Bloomberg takes questions today at Google's headquarters in Manhattan.
Today, City Comptroller John Liu and Mayor Mike Bloomberg talked about the actual one percent of New York City. And unsurprisingly, they differ in their views on how the wealthiest top percent of New Yorkers impact the city's economy.

Liu, who is expected to run for mayor in 2013, released a report today on income disparity in the city, finding that the top one percent of income tax filers receive one-third of all city personal income -- a share which his office says is nearly twice the national average. The report, called "Income Inequality in New York City," -- drawing on Occupy Wall Street rhetoric -- found that nationally, the top one percent accounts for 16.9 percent of income, while in New York, the richest percent account for 32.5 percent of reported income in 2009 (which is the most recent data available from the state).

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Google is Giving Space to Cornell in Manhattan; NYC Still Isn't Silicon Valley -- But It's Getting There!

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Sam Levin
From left to right, Google CEO Larry Page, Cornell President David Skorton, Technion's Director Craig Gotsman, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Move aside, Silicon Valley! Or, you know, watch your back. New York City is trying to compete with the tech-y town to be the tech center of the universe -- and Google is helping.

(FYI: New York City is still second to Silicon Valley, but it's trying!)

Today, Mayor Mike Bloomberg joined Google CEO Larry Page and Cornell President David Skorton to announce that Google will be doing something outside of its typical scope of activities: providing space for a temporary university campus in New York City.

As a central part of its Applied Sciences initiative -- aimed at attracting industry jobs and startups and expanding the Big Apple as a tech hub -- the city is building a campus on Roosevelt Island for CornellNYC Tech, an engineering and applied science campus that will be run by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

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City Opposes Cuomo's Move to End Fingerprinting for Food Stamps, But Can't Do Much About it

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Sam Levin
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Mike Bloomberg at a press conference.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he is ending a controversial policy that requires food stamp applicants to be fingerprinted -- a move that has pitted him squarely against Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The news today is also one that puts Bloomberg in direct opposition with City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn (and a handful of other local politicians).

At the center of the debate is the policy that requires all food stamp applications and recipients in New York State to be fingerprinted, which the governor, along with a group of advocates, says creates a stigma around receiving welfare, slows down the process, and creates barriers to reducing hunger. But Bloomberg, who butted heads with Cuomo on the policy back in January, has repeatedly defended fingerprinting, arguing that it stops New Yorkers from abusing the benefits and saves the city millions of dollars by stopping fraudulent recipients.

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Bronx Advocates Call for Alternatives to Arrests of Students Inside Public Schools (UPDATED)

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From New Settlement Parent Action Committee flier.
This afternoon, parent advocates in the Bronx are organizing a march that will start at a transportation hub in the borough, move to a suspensions hearing center onward to an early care education site, and then to an elementary school and a middle school. The final destination of the rally is a juvenile justice center.

This, they say, is a reflection of the path that all too many Bronx youth take today -- from school to prison.

A South Bronx group called the New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee is holding a rally today to shed light on some alarming statistics around the arrests that take place inside schools and to push the Dept. of Education to make policy changes that they say would better address behavioral problems and curb the rates of youth incarceration.

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In Stop-and-Frisk Debate, Mayor Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio Bad-Mouth Each Other

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Sam Levin
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at an immigration event earlier this year.
The debate over the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy is in full swing this week with a proposal from the public advocate prompting a badmouthing match between the mayor and the elected official who hopes to replace him in 2013.

Yesterday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, an expected mayoral candidate, launched a campaign to reform stop-and-frisk, urging Mayor Bloomberg to dramatically reduce the number of unwarranted stops. That led Bloomberg, via a statement from his deputy mayor, to criticize de Blasio and dismiss his ideas as out of touch with the realities of crime in the city. De Blasio kept the momentum going this morning with a conference call with reporters to, well, respond to the mayor's response to him.

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