Sure, it's an informal survey, but a New York Times reporter's finding that eight black college students he spoke to have been stopped by police a collective 92 times is still a disturbing reminder of how the NYPD wields its stop-and-frisk tactics too heavily against the city's minorities. In The Times article on New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's aboutface on the efficacy of stop-and-frisk, Michael Powell talked to group of eight black men currently attending the Borough of Manhattan Community College. "Cumulatively, they said they had been stopped 92 times."
That 11.5 friskings per-person, on average, is shocking, although it's anecdotal evidence, but it's the stories of these these kids being frisked for seemingly doing nothing other than driving or riding the subway while black that are alarming. Writes Powell:
The police stopped Mario Brown, who dreams of a career in theater arts, and forced him to take off his sneakers in the subway. (“It’s kind of ridiculous; I don’t see any Caucasian kids doing this.”) They forced Jamel Gordon-Mayfield, 18, the son of a police detective and a doctor, out of his parents’ S.U.V. one afternoon and demanded he take a Breathalyzer. (He passed.) Then they searched him and the car.
Of course, this isn't an aberration. Even if New Yorkers can't bring themselves to be worked up about it, 87 percent of all stops involved a black or Hispanic suspects in 2011. Now that's a statistic that has us wishing Ray Kelly hadn't made stop-and-frisk his favorite policing tactic after joining the Michael Bloomberg administration in 2002.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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