Comptroller and mayoral hopeful John Liu organized a series of town hall meetings between community members and lawyers and local officials to discuss how to a,mend the practice.
However, in Bed-Stuy it was clear that residents didn’t want a change int the policy, they want it stopped. At a town hall meeting last week, African-American men told stories of being harassed and stopped by the police multiple times.
According to information provided by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), 41.6 percent of the stops made by police in 2011 were of black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24. However, these two groups account for fewer than 5 percent of the city’s population.
“Police officers stopping people based on reasonable suspicion is different than the current policy,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams, an outspoken critic of stop-and-frisk, said.
Williams went on to say that the policy is driving a wedge between the community and those who are meant to protect it.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD use a decrease in murders and violent crime to justify the success of stop-and-frisk. However, NYCLU counters that the 605 percent increase in stops since 2002 has led to no dramatic decrease in shooting victims.
“You think you’d be living in some Third World dictatorship,” Liu said. “Almost everyone being stopped-and-frisked is either black or brown, and it’s hard to deny that this isn’t racial profiling.”
Community activist Tom Weiss said the NYPD needs a better method of screening new officers.
“The police department improperly vets its applicant,” he said.
At the town hall meeting, many elected officials said that officers on the street don’t actually want to stop people, but face a backlash from their supervisors.
In the court case that is currently before a judge, eight-year Officer Adhyl Polanco testified that the department is forcing officers to issue at least 20 summonses per month.
Polanco testified that his supervisor told him if he didn’t get the 20 summonses he would become a “Pizza Hut deliveryman.”