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June 18, 2012 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Silent march by thousands protest NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics. 'Nearly 300 civil rights groups were represented in the 30-block walk, from elected officials and labor union members to New York residents angry about how they're being treated when they walk the streets. Critics say the NYPD's practice of stopping, questioning and searching people who police consider suspicious is illegal and humiliating to hundreds of thousands of law-abiding blacks and Hispanics. Last year, the NYPD stopped close to 700,000 people, up from more than 90,000 a decade ago.'

'The practice of silent marches dates to 1917, when the NAACP led a protest through New York against lynchings and segregation in the U.S. "We are black, white, Asian, LGBT, straight, Jewish, Muslim and Christian," New York City Council member Jumaane Williams said before Sunday's march began, standing alongside American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.'

'Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defend the policy, saying the program keeps guns off New York streets and helps stop crime before it happens.

Speaking at a Christian cultural center on Sunday in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said he is working with police to ensure that people are treated respectfully when they are stopped.

"I cannot in good conscience walk away from work that I know will save the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters, and I will not," the mayor said.'

'Weingarten said the protest was a joint show of force by members of the LGBT and black communities working for the same cause.'
posted by VikingSword (55 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
'Weingarten said the protest was a joint show of force by members of the LGBT and black communities working for the same cause.'


Show IN force, IN force... biiiig difference. One means you have a lot of people, the other means you use violence. This is the former.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:34 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bloomberg said he is working with police to ensure that people are treated respectfully when they are stopped.

Seems like the crux of the problem, is that Bloomberg would have to be ensuring that people are treated respectfully. Hard thing to do when you have a group of people who have little or no respect for the 700,000 people that they stopped.

Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?
posted by snaparapans at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


In related news: 'Stop and Frisk Watch' Android App Keeps Tabs on NYPD Stops.
posted by ericb at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey Bloomberg? You know what's respectful? Not stopping and frisking people for the purposes of finding (or planting) drugs, nor under the known ruse of racial/cultural profiling.

There's nothing respectful about random stops and searches. There's nothing respectful about pissing on the Constitution of the United States. There's nothing respectful about oppressing entire neighborhoods and communities in your city.
posted by loquacious at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Speaking at a Christian cultural center on Sunday in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said he is working with police to ensure that people are treated respectfully when they are stopped.

Bloomberg also said, “We’ve sent a message to criminals...If we think you are carrying a gun, we are going to stop you.” Dying to know what it means to "think" someone is carrying a gun.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:46 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


work that I know will save the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters

You know... keeping every man, woman and child in their own individual cage will also prevent them from killing each other.

Ends justifying means and all.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:47 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hopefully this b.s. will prevent Bloomberg from ever getting any kind of national office, not that he ever would anyway.
One means you have a lot of people, the other means you use violence.
No it doesn't. "show of force" is used all the time to describe simply showing that you have some power (political, financial, whatever). It's a pretty common expression.

"Show in force" doesn't even sound like something people say very often. Looking at the n-gram viewer 'show in force' is so comparatively uncommon that it doesn't even register on the graph, other then for a few years in the 1870s
posted by delmoi at 11:47 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


'Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defend the policy, saying the program keeps guns off New York streets and helps stop crime before it happens.

Last year, the stop-and-frisk program led to the seizure of 780 guns in 680,000 stops. If your goal is to find people carrying weapons, that's a success rate of just over one tenth of one percent. I can only imagine what failure would look like.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Here's the data, courtesy of the NYCLU. I know I certainly feel Safer (TM) when the police go from ~97,000 stop-and-frisks in 2002 to 203,000 stop-and frisks in the first three months of 2012!
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 11:49 AM on June 18, 2012


Also, just one of 15 Shocking Facts About the NYPD Stop And Frisk Program : More Young Black Men Were Stopped By The NYPD In 2011 Than There Are Young Black Men in New York City. 158,406 young black men in the city, 168,126 young black men stopped.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:49 AM on June 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


Hey Bloomberg? You know what's respectful? Not stopping and frisking people for the purposes of finding (or planting) drugs, nor under the known ruse of racial/cultural profiling.

There's nothing respectful about random stops and searches. There's nothing respectful about pissing on the Constitution of the United States. There's nothing respectful about oppressing entire neighborhoods and communities in your city.
That's a big part of it. It's actually not even against the law to carry small amounts of marijuana in NYC. But when people get stopped and frisked they get arrested for 'open display' because, duh, the cops saw it right? But if they're searching for a gun, and they find weed, arresting you for the weed has nothing to do with keeping guns off the streets.
posted by delmoi at 11:49 AM on June 18, 2012


Speaking at a Christian cultural center on Sunday in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said he is working with police to ensure that people are treated respectfully when they are stopped.

When they are stopped is the problem. There should be no "when they are stopped" absent probable cause for a search, period, and the idea that one can "treat people respectfully" during one of these inherently degrading searches is a bad joke.
posted by vorfeed at 11:49 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think you should underestimate how much of a problem it is that the police are rude and disrespectful to the people they stop. If they were respectful each and every time, it would probably be less of a problem.
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Last year, the stop-and-frisk program led to the seizure of 780 guns in 680,000 stops. If your goal is to find people carrying weapons, that's a success rate of just over one tenth of one percent. I can only imagine what failure would look like.

They could turn around and claim that these stops provide a deterrent to people carrying guns, but that's equally ridiculous if we consider how many people there are in NYC.

This whole practice seems insane to me.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2012


I don't get it. If you frisk someone without reasonable suspicion and/or maintaining the voluntary nature of the frisk any evidence or weapons seized will be inadmissible as evidence. So what's the point of finding this stuff for prosecution if you can't actually prosecute with it? Any defender worth their salt would file a motion to suppress and the state doesn't have any other evidence than prima facie possession.

Do cops intend to lie and say the victim volunteered or manufacture reasonable suspicion? Or do they just intend to drag feet and turn the process of property recovery into one giant pain in the ass for the residents they seem to immediately blanketly label as criminals?
posted by Talez at 12:04 PM on June 18, 2012


This might be more useful.
This is a link to a poster that's been around the internet for a while now. It's how to spot someone carrying. I believe this is actually part of some training material for police to use. It has actually been quite useful for many people I know (mostly bouncers/private venue security) to spot possible troublemakers before they even get to the door. I somehow doubt that the NYPD are actually using this criteria for their profiling.
posted by daq at 12:06 PM on June 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't get it. If you frisk someone without reasonable suspicion and/or maintaining the voluntary nature of the frisk any evidence or weapons seized will be inadmissible as evidence. So what's the point of finding this stuff for prosecution if you can't actually prosecute with it? Any defender worth their salt would file a motion to suppress and the state doesn't have any other evidence than prima facie possession.

They manufacture reasonable suspicion, usually through nebulous "furtive movements". No judge has yet been found to care.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:07 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


delmoi: "I don't think you should underestimate how much of a problem it is that the police are rude and disrespectful to the people they stop. If they were respectful each and every time, it would probably be less of a problem."

I think in a way it would be more of a problem if they were polite. Using nice words doesn't change whether it's a violation of civil rights, but it's likely to make lots of people more complacent about it.
posted by Riki tiki at 12:09 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I participated with fellow Arts and Labor working group members. It was beautiful, moving, peaceful march and so inspiring to watch people from every segment (religious groups, civil rights groups, labor unions, ows, neighborhood associations, etc) hopping in between sections of the march and literally reaching across barriers to hug each other or raise a fist in solidarity. There were a few moments of comic relief when marchers made sh-hhhhing! noises at the community police who were lining the street and whose conversations carried over the hush of the crowd (police, who I might add, largely appeared more sympathetic than defensive or aggressive and who were primarily made up of people of color) and loud seagulls passing overhead.

The small skirmish at the end which I think the Boston.com article is giving ink to consisted of about 6-12 people who were chanting at the finish and did not want to leave the intersection near Bloomberg's street, and they were made up of a cross-section of participants. If they wanted to engage in a bit of civil disobedience at the end of the march I think they'd have been more effective if they'd been a larger group with even more representatives from multiple organizations and had sat down in the middle of the road and then stayed completely silent. That would have had to have been coordinated ahead of time, though, and the march itself with thousands of participants with divergent opinions on protest tactics showing incredible restraint and self-policing throughout was pretty incredible.
posted by stagewhisper at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Breaking Bad's Gus Fring Was Stopped And Frisked By The NYPD
posted by homunculus at 12:13 PM on June 18, 2012


This is a link to a poster that's been around the internet for a while now. It's how to spot someone carrying. I believe this is actually part of some training material for police to use.

As it says in the bottom right, it's by Megan Jaegerman, based on her NYT infographics. It appears in Edward Tufte's book Beautiful Evidence.
posted by zamboni at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, Bloomberg. I say we take off and nuke NY from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:17 PM on June 18, 2012


Wait - that's not enough. Better nuke the whole country.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:18 PM on June 18, 2012


The Stop-and-Frisk Crisis: How to Criminalize an Entire Generation of Black and Latino Men. Instead of curtailing gun violence in the inner city, stop-and-frisk has only succeeded in marginalizing young males of color.
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I support sending Bloomberg into orbit as a more economical solution to the same problem (i.e. Michael Bloomberg won't stop doing things).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:28 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish.

I feel like the only way we're going to solve this problem is to demand that police officers pay for their own lawsuits against the city via some sort of civil rights malpractice insurance. Jam it into the next union contract along with a decent raise in exchange. The problem might solve itself.
posted by Talez at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. If you frisk someone without reasonable suspicion and/or maintaining the voluntary nature of the frisk any evidence or weapons seized will be inadmissible as evidence.
Even if they didn't put anyone in jail, they could still say the gun is off the streets, and thus no longer a threat. Plus, 99% of the time you can almost certainly get a plea deal anyway
I think in a way it would be more of a problem if they were polite. Using nice words doesn't change whether it's a violation of civil rights, but it's likely to make lots of people more complacent about it.
I don't really think they should be doing it, but they fact that they are essentially being rude/harassing one segment of the population is the bigger problem. If they were using metal detectors rather then actual pat downs, for example. Most people didn't complain too much about going through a metal detector at the airport, but then when the TSA started grabbing people's crotch or putting them through nudie scanners people flipped.

If the NYPD were just running those wand metal detectors over people rather then grabbing them, and if they were only checking for guns and not just excuses to arrest people, it would likely be less of a problem for the people actually involved. They would also need to do something about the racist aspect as well.
posted by delmoi at 12:31 PM on June 18, 2012


Not to take any of the glory away from NYPD this problem is also in our schools:
Looking at the first full year when the "Education Mayor" was in charge, Lieberman says there were 31,879 suspensions that year. In 2009, there were 73,943....

Surprise, surprise: Fifty-three percent of kids are black, 35 percent are Latino, 8 percent are white, and 4 percent are Asian.....

....But Bloomberg's "zero tolerance" approach to discipline has led to an environment where School Safety Agents can (and do) haul a five-year-old in handcuffs off to a psych ward for having a temper tantrum.

...."kids suspended for disciplinary infractions are more likely to be arrested in the criminal justice system than kids who are not suspended for the same behavior." [bolding mine]
posted by snaparapans at 12:40 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stop-and-search laws are widely touted (e.g.) as one of the main causes of the riots in London and other UK cities in the early 80s.
posted by Abiezer at 12:47 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This might be more useful.
This is a link to a poster that's been around the internet for a while now. It's how to spot someone carrying. I believe this is actually part of some training material for police to use. It has actually been quite useful for many people I know (mostly bouncers/private venue security) to spot possible troublemakers before they even get to the door. I somehow doubt that the NYPD are actually using this criteria for their profiling.


75% of these examples make it seem likely for me to be frisked for attempting to conceal my boner.
posted by pcrsweetness at 1:02 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Slap*Happy: "Show IN force, IN force... biiiig difference. One means you have a lot of people, the other means you use violence. This is the former."

Pretty sure you made a typo there, and meant to capitalize two different words.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:02 PM on June 18, 2012


I wonder how many of the NYPD are illegal drug dealers themselves? And how much drug-profit cash each NYPD officer who is also an illegal drug dealer carries? Also, how many illegal weapons are carried by NYPD in the course of a day of dealing illegal drugs?
posted by telstar at 1:05 PM on June 18, 2012


This and "random" (hah!) subway bag searches make me leery about moving back to my home town. It's not that this is a new thing - I remember cops rolling up to groups of young black kids in my neighborhood in the early 1990s and searching every one of them. Not frisking, but a turn-out-your-pockets, full-on search.

I am happy that NYC is so much safer than it was when I was a kid. I really am. But the notion that this is entirely or even mostly attributable to massively abusive over-policing is silly. On the flip side, if you want to guarantee that someone has a "fuck the system" attitude, then force them to submit to humiliation again and again at the hands of unaccountable paramilitaries.
posted by 1adam12 at 1:19 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A bit off-topic, but since the article from the Voice was brought up:

Lieberman says the study shows a correlation between school suspensions and the criminal justice system, and that "kids suspended for disciplinary infractions are more likely to be arrested in the criminal justice system than kids who are not suspended for the same behavior."

I have to ask what the criteria is for being suspended in the districts studied before I ran to any conclusions here. I would not be shocked if it were disproportionately applied, but there's probably a whole lot of context there to sort through.

Also: us teachers would generally prefer more/better alternatives to suspension, but we'd need a bunch of money to make those happen.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:25 PM on June 18, 2012


Hey, Bloomberg. I say we take off and nuke NY from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

But respectfully. Always respectfully.
posted by Naberius at 1:31 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was just discussing with my wife last week how NYC would be interesting to visit sometime.

Nevermind.
posted by Hoopo at 1:33 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Last year, the stop-and-frisk program led to the seizure of 780 guns in 680,000 stops. If your goal is to find people carrying weapons, that's a success rate of just over one tenth of one percent. I can only imagine what failure would look like.

I don't really know what this means. To me, failure would be having one of these guns (1/780*100%) killing someone.
posted by bquarters at 1:53 PM on June 18, 2012


I don't really know what this means. To me, failure would be having one of these guns (1/780*100%) killing someone.

Thing is, if you want to have a free society, you're gonna have to accept that there will be some senseless tragedies. The only way we can genuinely make sure everyone is safe all the time is if we flawlessly regiment every aspect of every person's life, every day.

I know that's cold comfort to anyone who's lost a loved one to crime (or terrorism, or whatever--pick your label), but again, it's the price you pay for living in a free society.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:03 PM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Lieberman says the study shows a correlation between school suspensions and the criminal justice system, and that "kids suspended for disciplinary infractions are more likely to be arrested in the criminal justice system than kids who are not suspended for the same behavior."

Also, this doesn't make sense. I'm a teacher and I work in a crime-filled neighborhood. HUGE budget cuts mean that social services have been cut from our school (the one social worker for 1400 kids removed last year) and there are few alternatives to suspension that can be handled by our current underfunded and understaffed building. With this being the case, doesn't it stand to reason that kids in schools that can't handle disciplinary problems due to their being so many issues and so little money and resources lead to those same kids having more problems later on? Isn't this obvious??

The funding of schools in the city between even between 2009 and now is totally different. Those results are just not comparable. And compared to when I came in 2002, it's a totally different world. There are too many factors at play to draw any type of simple conclusions other than when the economy suffers, schools suffer. And when schools suffer, the students suffer.
posted by bquarters at 2:10 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


bquarters: "I don't really know what this means. To me, failure would be having one of these guns (1/780*100%) killing someone."

I think the point is that 679,220 incorrect stop-and-frisks (and the police resources they waste, and the disenfranchisement they cause, and their chilling effects on civil liberties) are probably more dangerous than 780 guns on the street.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:12 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know that's cold comfort to anyone who's lost a loved one to crime (or terrorism, or whatever--pick your label), but again, it's the price you pay for living in a free society.

Free is a relative term. I don't find Canada's gun laws so freedom-stealing, and the idea of being 'free' to carry a concealed weapon as you can in some parts of the States terrifies me. So, what's more freeing? Mentally, I find more restrictive laws more freeing. But that's my interpretation.
posted by bquarters at 2:13 PM on June 18, 2012


I don't really know what this means. To me, failure would be having one of these guns (1/780*100%) killing someone.

If you claim to have a reasonable suspicion that someone is doing something illegal – in this case, carrying a firearm without a permit – and it turns out that you are wrong 99.9 percent of the time, you are failing at your job. You're wasting time and manpower on supposed “suspicions” that are as accurate as throwing a dart into traffic and frisking whoever it hits.

Seriously. NINETY-NINE POINT NINE PERCENT WRONG. They are one thousand times more likely to stop you and find nothing, or something that couldn't be noticed without a frisk and search (e.g. an otherwise legal quantity of pot) than to find the guns they're ostensibly looking for. A police force that operated with that efficiency in all its duties would be the laughingstock of the world. They'd make fewer than a hundred valid arrests a year (with a bunch of other people arrested who actually had committed crimes, but not the ones they were arrested for). They'd knock down a thousand doors looking for one drug dealer. The lawsuits against them would blot out the sun. It's insane that people call this a successful, legal program with a straight face.

And, of course, if you really are picking your targets without any actual suspicion, as the NYPD so freaking obviously is, then you're guilty of literally millions of Fourth Amendment violations, because an illegal search doesn't become legal just because you happened to use it on a bad, bad person.

Ah well, it's like our founding fathers said. “Give me liberty, or give me death! Only not really.”
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:19 PM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Security Theatre at its finest.
This thread breaks down the worst and the best murder rates per capita by precinct.
posted by bastionofsanity at 2:50 PM on June 18, 2012


Sure, Canada has more restrictive gun laws than the US, but they also don't have a stop-and-frisk program.....
posted by kaibutsu at 3:03 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


- "If we think you are carrying a gun, we are going to stop you.”

- "158,406 young black men in the city, 168,126 young black men stopped."


Well. That seems clear enough.
posted by Honorable John at 3:23 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Somewhat related - Ginandtacos.com had an excellent post a few months ago (in the immediate aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting) about the author trying to relate to the sort of racial profiling and disenfrachisement that POC go through, and failing to be able to grasp the sheer despair it must engender:
I don't understand how black males, especially younger ones, do it. I don't know how their parents do it, knowing that every time the kids leave the house there's some cop or concealed carry asshole who will imagine them "reaching for a weapon" and you'll never speak to them again. I don't know how you accept that reality and then add to it that the law won't lift a finger for you when it happens other than to tell you that it's your kid's fault he got show. I feel like if I was black rather than white I'd probably be dead or in prison right now – and that's not hyperbole, as the statistics bear it out. I can't comprehend what it must be like to live in a society that considers it Progress that public lynchings no longer happen, ignoring the fact that the lynching process has simply become more efficient. When the best possible outcome is to hope that grassroots publicity can guilt the law into charging someone for your son's murder so he or she can be perfunctorily found not guilty by an all-white jury.
posted by Phire at 3:35 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]



OK folks. What happens when lots of New Yorkers band together and start wearing bulky shoulder holsters under their shirts sans a hand gun?
posted by notreally at 4:24 PM on June 18, 2012


OK folks. What happens when lots of New Yorkers band together and start wearing bulky shoulder holsters under their shirts sans a hand gun?

I would place all my bets on "Some random innocent kid will get shot in the back by an off duty police officer."
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


daq writes "It's how to spot someone carrying."

Carrying pretty well anything like say a leatherman, colostomy bag or an insulin pump.

bquarters writes "Free is a relative term. I don't find Canada's gun laws so freedom-stealing,"

Canada's gun laws are IMO overly restrictive. Worse in many cases the banned or not banned line is drawn because a particular weapon looks scary.
posted by Mitheral at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2012


i looked at the link daq posted and most of those are me with my cell phone.

the ones labeled quick adjustment, running from the rain (or across the street), jacket fits unevenly, and hand rests on gun all applied to me.

i've actually been concerned before that someone might think i'm packing (or at least carrying a knife) because of the way my hand was around my rather large cell phone in my coat or vest pocket.

kinda makes me wonder if the NYPD are actually following these guidelines and it just turns out to be cell phones or ipods a lot but no one ever says that.
posted by sio42 at 1:04 PM on June 19, 2012


It's pretty obvious, with a 99.9+% false positive rate, that whatever guideline they are using is not worthy of the name guideline. I wonder if pure random chance would yield a lower false positive rate.
posted by Mitheral at 4:05 PM on June 19, 2012


I don't really know what this means. To me, failure would be having one of these guns (1/780*100%) killing someone.
How many un-armed, citizens have been killed by police during a stop and frisk? Hint: more then zero

also:
The city had 125 stabbing or slashing deaths last year. In 2007, there were 83. More people still died because of guns, even though that number declined. In 2008, 292 people were shot to death in New York. That's down from 347 the year before. Overall, homicides rose slightly.
Progress!
posted by delmoi at 9:24 PM on June 19, 2012


The actor who played a drug-dealing teenager in the hit HBO show "The Wire" said he gets racially profiled by New York and New Jersey police officers who often mistake him for someone they have previously arrested.
posted by homunculus at 1:09 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wanted For Contempt Of Cop
posted by homunculus at 11:22 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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