An audio posted to YouTube by The Nation records a stop-and-frisk encounter between a Harlem youth and NYPD officers. The audio confirms fears that the controversial policy is being used in a discriminatory manner that promotes racial profiling.
Global Grind reports the stop-and-frisk policy championed by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly, has come under severe criticism because available data shows that it targets young males of color.
According to The Nation, on June 3, 2011 three plainclothes NYPD officers stopped a Harlem teenager, Alvin, for questioning and frisking. Alvin secretly recorded the encounter with the two officers on his cell phone. NY Daily News reports that according to Erin Schneider, who obtained the recording as part of a stop-and-frisk documentary by filmmaker Ross Tuttle, Alvin was not arrested during the incident and he does not have a criminal record.
During the two-minute encounter, the officers, according to The Nation, gave Alvin no reasons for stopping him. They threatened the 16-year-old with violence and used racially abusive language. One of the officers called the Harlem student a "f--k**g mutt."
The YouTube audio captures the conversation between the teenager and the officers:
“You want me to smack you?”
Alvin wants to know why the officers are threatening him with arrest. The officer tells him: "For being a fucking mutt.”
The officers hold Alvin's arms behind his back. One says “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”
Alvin, recounting the disturbing experience, said: “He grabbed me by my bookbag and he started pushing me down. So I’m going backwards like down the hill and he just kept pushing me, pushing me, it looked like he we was going to hit me. I felt like they was trying to make me resist or fight back.”
According to The Nation, Alvin's experience is not unusual. NYPD stop-and-frisk data, shows that about 1,800 New Yorkers are stopped daily under the policy. The Nation reports that a New York Times analysis determined that more than 20 percent of the stops involved use of force. Global Grind concludes: "Of the nearly 700,000 people stopped by the NYPD in 2011, 87 percent were either black or Latino."
Gawker reports that New York State Senator Eric Adams, alleged that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, told him that he hoped to use the policy to "instill the fear in black and Hispanic youth that every time they leave their homes they will feel that they could be stopped."
Gawker comments: "In the two years since Kelly supposedly made his comments... NYPD has indeed put the fear of the stop-and-frisk tactic into young black and brown men's hearts... it continues to be a go-to way for police to patrol predominantly minority areas."
Gawker complains that stop-and-frisk has become a legal way for police to "harass and demean young male minorities... degrade, belittle and rough [them] up under the guise of security and public safety."
According to NYCLU:
"The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices raise serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights... The police are stopping hundreds of thousands of law abiding New Yorkers every year, and the vast majority are black and Latino.
"An analysis by the NYCLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports."The Nation reports that Darius Charney, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights comments: "... men with guns surrounding you in the street late at night when you’re by yourself. You ask why and they curse you out and rough you up.”
The Nation reports Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP, said: "The tape brings to light what so many New Yorkers have experienced in the shadows at the hands of the NYPD. It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to come to grips with the scale of the damage his policies have inflicted on our children and their families. No child should have to grow up fearing both the cops and the robbers.”