New York City Debates Changes To Stop And Frisk [Video]

What do you think of the controversial policy?

teens stopped and frisked nypd

Alamy

New York’s city council held an occasionally testy hearing yesterday to discuss changing the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

The policy gives officers wide berth to stop, question and patdown people it deems suspicious in order to keep illegal guns off the streets. But civil rights and community groups say the policy is effectively racial profiling, since almost 9 in 10 people who were stopped and frisked last year were black or Latino. (Only about 10 percent of the 680,000 people who were stopped in 2011 were given summonses or arrested, and whites were twice as likely to have a gun when stopped.)

Besides creating an inspector general’s post, the measures would require officers to explain why they are stopping people, tell them when they have a right to refuse a search, and hand out business cards identifying themselves. Another proposal would give people more latitude to sue over stops they considered biased.

Earlier this week, The Nation released the only known audio ecording of an actual police stop. In it, two officers tell a teenager that he’s being stopped for “looking like a f****g mutt” and that they will break his arm if he doesn’t cooperate.
WATCH:

 

That audio was played during yesterday’s  Council hearing. Earlier this week, a class action lawsuit against the city’s police over the policy was allowed to move forward. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has argued that the practice is necessary to reduce gun violence. But an investigation found that while the number of frisks has skyrocketed in recent years, the number of shootings has remained unchanged.
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