When it’s not a political penis, it’s something else in New York news. Today, I’m talking about Stop and Frisk.
The stop and frisk tactics used by the New York City Police Department are in jeopardy after federal judge Judge Scheindlin found them in violation of the constitutional rights of minorities.
The City’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner. In their zeal to defend a policy they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting the right people is racially discriminatory and therefore violates the United States constitution.
The city is appealing the ruling.
As you hopefully have gathered, the judge (and a shitton of New Yorkers) claim the measures boil down to racial profiling.
For example, in 20011, in 2011, there were approximately 700,000 stop-and-frisks: 90 percent innocent, 90 percent people of color, and, of those, 99.9 percent didn’t have a gun. Out of around 700,000 stop-and-frisks, about 700 guns were seized.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told David Gregory on Meet the Press this past Sunday that the policy is necessary, saying that it saves lives, and then made some fairly dubious comments.
If you have probable cause, then you have enough to affect an arrest or issue a summons. This, by the way, is the standard law enforcement practice throughout America. It’s certainly not just going forward in New York. And as far as your second set of numbers are concerned, we think the reasonable criteria is a criteria that was developed or presented to us by the Rand Corporation, an institution that’s been in existence for 100 years, that says that to take a look at racial profiling and determine if it happens, you should first look at the universe of people who are identified by a perpet– by the victims of a crime. The perpetrators identified by the– by the victims of violent crime. What does that universe look like? And in New York, that universe certainly comports to the racial makeup of the people who are being stopped.
I’d like to breeze right past “probably cause,” which is a reasonable police tactic and focus in on the last part of that paragraph. Kelly is basically saying that most criminals are of a certain race (or races) and so therefore it’s perfectly acceptable to stop or detain (or frisk or harass, etc.) all people of that race in the name of preventing crime.
It’s been a long time since college, but isn’t that a false tautology? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that like:
All cats are animals. All cats lick their butts. Therefore, all animals lick their butts.
So even if the man were correct, and all crimes are committed by non-whites (which is so phenomenally not true, but that brings up the US prison culture and we do not have time for that today), that doesn’t mean that all non-white are criminals.
Excuse me while I punch a wall.
Gregory said it better than I ever could:
Let me just understand what you’re saying. Basically there are more African-Americans and Hispanics who are committing crimes in New York City. Therefore, it justifies a higher percentage of those being stopped on the suspicion that they might do something wrong, that they might commit a criminal act, because the judge says that’s faulty reasoning. She’s saying you can’t take an innocent population and say that that’s the same as a– a criminal population.
We could debate probably cause and stop and frisk, but if “the Commish” believes that a whole population of people are already criminals by virtue of their skin or location or income, won’t his belief system permeate the culture which he oversees? Won’t his racism infect the many officers who work under him?
You bet your ass it will.