Public Advocate Bill de Blasio announced a new campaign to reform the broken Stop and Frisk policy, beginning with a call on Mayor Bloomberg to issue an Executive Order dramatically reducing the number of unwarranted stops.
To implement the directive, de Blasio has urged the use of CompStat to track unwarranted stops and hold each commanding officer accountable for stops in his or her precinct. Citing a growing rift between police and communities, the Public Advocate warned the out-of-control stop and frisk policy was making New Yorkers less safe. The campaign announced today will mobilize 100,000 New Yorkers through an online hub at www.BloombergActNow.com, on-street organizing, and resolutions passed through Community Boards and civic groups.
“We cannot wait until the Mayor leaves office to change this broken policy. Stop and frisk is a valid police tool, but it is being misused thousands of times each day. Every unwarranted stop widens the gap between police and the communities they protect—making us all less safe,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “The Mayor needs to exercise leadership and direct the NYPD to reduce unwarranted stops. If he doesn’t, we will show him the way.”
New figures released today by the New York Civil Liberties Union demonstrate the decreasing effectiveness of stop and frisk tactics. In 2003, the NYPD stopped 266 New Yorkers for every gun recovered. In 2011, the Department had to stop 879 New Yorkers to recover a single gun.
De Blasio laid out a plan to reduce unwarranted stop and frisks, and rebuild police-community relations:
- Accountability for bad stops: Direct the NYPD to reduce unwarranted stops though an Executive Order from Mayor Bloomberg and legislation enabling COMPSTAT reporting to hold Commanding Officers accountable for reducing the number of unwarranted stops in their precincts;
- Maintain force levels: Baseline the current number of NYPD officers to preserve at least the minimum force levels we need;
- Give our kids a chance: Halt cuts to 31,800 seats in after-school programs, which keep youth off the streets during peak hours for juvenile crime;
- Embrace true community policing: Reduce gang violence by expanding City support and resources dedicated to the three “Focused Deterrence” programs announced by Governor Cuomo. These programs emphasize strong relationships between officers and communities, allowing police to ‘focus’ on a small pocket of potential law-breakers.
The campaign announced by de Blasio will engage 100,000 New Yorkers to support an Executive Order changing the current Stop and Frisk policy through:
- A citywide petition drive, conducted online and through petitioning in subway stations across the city, focusing on neighborhoods with excessive numbers of unwarranted stops;
- Resolutions pushed at Community Boards and civic groups, calling on Mayor Bloomberg to dramatically reduce unwarranted stops;
- Stop and Frisk town halls in all five boroughs co-hosted by the Public Advocate and the National Action Network;
- An online hub at www.BloombergActNow.com, complete with a petition to Mayor Bloomberg and Stop and Frisk data for individual neighborhoods.
“Under this administration, we have come to see a two-tiered system of policing in New York. There's the kinder, gentler policing that we see on the Upper West Side or in Park Slope, and the 'up against the wall' policing we see in Brownsville and Harlem,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This cannot stand. Real people's lives are in the balance. Whole generations of boys and girls are growing up afraid of the very people that are supposed to keep them safe.”
“The New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices have, over the years, raised serious concerns about racial profiling. While I support the hard work of the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line daily to protect our residents and keep guns off our streets, I strongly believe we must have balance. We must demand that our police department is better trained to work with our communities in a respectful manner. On a personal note, I myself have been stopped-and-frisked by police officers for no reason, both in my youth and during my time serving in the New York State Assembly. I know firsthand just how arbitrary and unfair this policy is. It is time for this practice to be reformed,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Public Advocate De Blasio and the police accountability movement are stepping into the leadership vacuum that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have created by repeatedly ignoring the cries from historically disenfranchised communities,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. The overuse and misuse of stop, question and frisk by the NYPD has fractured police-community relations to the point that it is negatively impacting this city's ability to reduce crime. If Mayor Bloomberg truly wants to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers, he needs to listen to our communities and pursue a holistic approach that includes raising accountability at One Police Plaza.”
“NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy has historically resulted in unwarranted stops that target our Black and Latino communities. The policy has been abused to the point that officers who misuse this tactic are often not held accountable for their woeful actions. The lack of accountability, couple with the need for transparency has created an atmosphere of mistrust, which continues to strain the relationship between the NYPD and our communities of color,” said Council Member Robert Jackson. “I urge the NYPD to engage in an open dialogue with our constituents and local policy-makers. Together we can reform Stop and Frisk practices that will give way to true partnerships that promote public safety in our City.”
“Far too many innocent New Yorkers are stopped and frisked in communities of color every day. Youth in communities like mine tell us that it is a traumatic and humiliating experience which would never be tolerated in higher-income neighborhoods,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Stopping and frisking New Yorkers does not address the root causes of violence. I applaud Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for stepping up in support of community policing and against Mayor Bloomberg’s cuts to after-school programs that keep our young people out of trouble. We should be offering more safe, supportive environments that help youth learn, grow, and succeed in life, rather than stopping them on the street and forcing them to endure demeaning frisks. It is time that we replace the out-of-control stop-and-frisk practices with community policing and effective intervention strategies that actually make our city safer.”
“I want to thank Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for presenting a strategy to reduce the number of Stop-and-Frisk actions by the NYPD. Stop- and-Frisk as currently applied in New York City violates the constitutional rights, civil liberties and civil rights of our residents. These are core values of our civil society and have racial implications, particularly for Black and Latino young men. We must not allow this policy, which constitutes a pattern and practice of racial profiling and a violation of the equal protection clause, to continue unabated in New York City. I will continue to work at the federal level to hold the NYPD accountable for these violations, the decade long discrimination and the dehumanization of hundreds of thousands of young men who have been injured by this practice,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
“LatinoJustice PRLDEF agrees with these efforts to conduct public meetings on the impact of Operation Clean Halls and the NYPD's general stop and frisk practices,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “The more our community is given a chance to voice their concerns about these police practices, the better. The NYPD must be held accountable just like all of our government agencies. To that end, we applaud these efforts.”
“I applaud Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for promoting dialogue on Stop and Frisk in the Bronx and throughout New York City,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “Stop and Frisk is an unconstitutional practice that has legalized racial profiling and must stop. I regularly speak to young black and Latino men who live and work in the Bronx about Stop and Frisk and the way it makes them feel about the local police. That is why we have to address the practice of Stop and Frisk head-on, recognizing that it does not make our communities safer and it ultimately makes the jobs of law enforcement officials harder because of the mistrust it engenders.”
“In large parts of the City, today's Stop and Frisk policies have made entire communities feel like suspects targeted by law enforcement, instead of citizens protected by it, even if they have done nothing wrong," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “As it's practiced, stop-and-frisk has created a climate in which young Black and Latino men and their families have a fundamentally different relationship with the NYPD than other New Yorkers. Though Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD deserve credit for their success in reducing crime and their work responding to many community concerns, the time has come for the Department to reform Stop and Frisk and begin to repair the relationships the current policy has frayed. In Albany, we need to help by repealing the 'in plain view' marijuana possession statute which is enforced inconsistently and leads to some of Stop and Frisk’s greatest inequities.”
“Last year, 88 % of the people detained by the NYPD under ‘Stop & Frisk’ were completely innocent,” said Assembly Member Micah Kellner. “Stop & Frisk is a policy that has been abused for far too long and I am thrilled that a leader in our City government has finally stepped up to end to those abuses. The town hall meetings that Public Advocate de Blasio is sponsoring will be effective in educating New Yorkers as to their rights as well as letting them know about the statistics regarding abuse of this policy. We need to work together in getting Mayor Bloomberg to end the abusive practices.”
“As the representative of a diverse district in which there were 18,000 stop-and-frisks last year, I have deep concerns over any tactics that contribute to a culture of racial profiling and are counterproductive to ensuring the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “I am calling on Mayor Bloomberg to revise the NYPD's ineffective stop-and-frisk policy and find more productive ways of policing our neighborhoods without compromising our civil liberties. I commend Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for his proposals as alternatives to stop-and-frisks.”
“It is time for the City/NYPD to restore the balance between civil liberty and public safety production,” said Dr. Delores Jones-Brown, Associate Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Public Advocate de Blasio is working alongside a broad coalition that is preparing a Fathers’ Day march against the City’s use of Stop and Frisk on June 17th.
Join the campaign at: www.BloombergActNow.com.