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.