Events Planned for New Yorkers to Air Civil Rights, Security Concerns
City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced that he would be holding three Town Hall Meetings on the NYPD’s stop & frisk policy and public safety issues, with more planned in the near future so that New Yorkers can voice their concerns on civil rights and security issues.
“Stop and frisk has driven a deep chasm between communities and police, which makes everyone less safe,” Comptroller Liu said. “Furthermore, it diverts police resources from strategies proven to reduce crime in other cities that do not resort to stop and frisk. As stop and frisk has increased, we have also seen a marked increase in lawsuits and claims against the NYPD, bills that taxpayers are on the hook for. These are among the issues we will discuss, with an eye toward promoting greater involvement of the community in policing.”
“When the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who are stopped and frisked are people of color, it’s hard to avoid calling stop and frisk what it really is — racial profiling. Being stopped and frisked is not a minor inconvenience; it is deeply humiliating and absolutely offensive when based on skin color. There’s simply no place for racial profiling, by the police or anyone. It’s not what New York City is about.”
The meetings are co-sponsored by local elected officials and civic groups, including the National Action Network, NAACP, Legal Aid Society, and the John Jay College Center on Race, Crime & Justice. Meetings will be held:
· In Queens on Wednesday, March 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Greater Springfield Community Church, 177-06 129th Ave. in Jamaica.
· In The Bronx on Monday, March 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Latino Pastoral Center, 14 W. 170th St.
· In Brooklyn on Wednesday, March 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Concord Baptist Church of Christ, 833 Gardner C. Taylor Blvd.
“The police are stopping hundreds of thousands of law-abiding New Yorkers every year, and the vast majority are Black and Latino. More than eight out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports. The unusually high number of youths age 14 to 24 (51 percent of stops) that are stopped and frisked by the police will result in these kids having some sort of a record that will affect them in the future, including obtaining gainful employment,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr. of Queens.
“The practice of stop and frisk has had a disproportionately negative impact on the Latino and African-American communities, especially the youth within these communities. It is my belief, and the belief of many others, that this has made our communities less safe by creating a wedge of mistrust between law enforcement, whose job it is to protect our streets, and the very people they should be protecting,” said State Senator Jose M. Serrano of The Bronx.
“Stop and frisk has been an unfair practice that has been used against minority communities. Let’s put a stop to it once and for all. Treat all communities with dignity and respect,” said Assemblyman Eric A. Stevenson of The Bronx.
“I am glad to join in efforts to make our City streets safer. From street harassment to gun violence, public safety remains a serious issue on Brooklyn streets and Citywide,” said City Council Member Letitia James of Brooklyn.
“The current stop and frisk procedure initiated by our NYPD undoubtedly is a masked form of racial profiling. This is a tactic that has proven to be unsuccessful and unproductive in producing a better community, in addition to creating more friction between citizens in minority neighborhoods and police officers. New York needs a police structure that understands the respect of the people comes from first giving respect to the people,” said the Rev. Phil Craig, President of the Queens Chapter of the National Action Network.
“Every day, in every borough, front-line Legal Aid Society lawyers and professional staff see New Yorkers who are improperly stopped, questioned, and frisked and who are then wrongfully arrested,” said Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society.
“Innocent New Yorkers have the right to walk the streets free of police interference,” said Delores Jones-Brown, Director of the John Jay College Center on Race, Crime & Justice.
“Communities of color want to live in a crime-free community but the price should not be the violation of one’s civil rights,” said the Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera of the Latino Pastoral Action Center in The Bronx.
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