Monday’s decision from a federal judge could well mean there will be major reforms of the New York Police Department’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy.
The practice, which allows the NYPD to stop, question and frisk people without cause, has been in place since 2002. Mayor Michael Bloomberg today defended the tactic in a press conference, arguing that it was partially responsible for a large drop in the city’s crime rates, pointing out that murders are down 50% from 10 years ago.
Groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union argue that Bloomberg’s claims are not supported by evidence. Many argue that the practice is unfair to New York City’s young black and Hispanic men, who are those stopped most of the time. 88% of those stopped are released without charges.
To get a little idea of what it can be like to be “stopped and frisked,” watch this video, released by The Nation last year, which tells the story of a Harlam teenager named Alvin who was stopped in 2011. Alvin decided to record his experience, and was threatened by the police officers, who also called Alvin a “f—ing mutt.”
The audio is included in the documentary below around 3 minutes in:
The audio recording is believed to have been one of the only recordings of a hostile stop and frisk in action, but it may not be the last.
Following today’s ruling, “stop and frisk” will be reviewed by a court-appointed monitor, and officers from the precincts that had the highest number of stops last year will be forced to wear body cameras to record the stops.
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