Stop-And-Frisk: Day After Mayoral Election New York's Top Officials And Activists Pressure Lameduck Mayor Bloomberg

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Bloomberg's appeal leaves many New Yorkers with bad stench as he departs

One day after voters elected new leadership, city leaders and residents united on the steps of City Hall to call on the Bloomberg administration to end its fight against stop-and-frisk reforms and civil rights protections.

Specifically, the group called on the administration to drop its appeal to a Federal court decision ruling its stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional; the group also wants the City to drop its lawsuit to overturn a recently-passed anti-profiling law.

“Every person in New York City must have has the right to walk the streets of the city in which they reside or ride the subway or the bus without the threat of a serious intrusion based on racial profiling that violates their civil rights and civil liberties,” said U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke. “We cannot continue to tell young Latino or African-American men to ‘wait’ for the equal protection of the law. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King explained in Letter from a Birmingham Jail, ‘wait’ almost always means ‘never.’ These young men have already waited more than a decade for the freedoms protected by our Constitution. The wait must end now.”

Assemblyman Karim Camara, chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, added: “The Court of Appeals decision to grant a stay on reforms only further hurts our city and communities by denying justice to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have had their rights violated by a  counterproductive, stop-and-frisk policy. The City should drop the lawsuit and work with communities to develop a system of law enforcement that protects the people while also respecting their rights.”

“New Yorkers spoke clearly last night by voting for citywide leaders who are committed to reforms; now is the time for our city to unite,” said Monifa Bandele of Communities United for Police Reform. “The Bloomberg administration should stop fighting against reform, so no further injury is done to those already harmed by discriminatory policing. It’s time to listen to the people of our city, stop the political posturing, and unite behind these needed reforms that will help improve safety and the relationship between our communities and the NYPD.”

Despite this summer’s Federal Court ruling, the passage of the Community Safety Act and override of Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of it, the Bloomberg administration has continued to fight against reforms. It has used taxpayer money to seek appeals and file a lawsuit against the City Council.

On Election Day, voters rejected the Bloomberg administration on the issue by choosing new leadership that articulated a clear commitment and platform to reform stop-and-frisk and help end discriminatory policing. Not only did voters choose a mayor who strongly backs the civil rights protections in the Community Safety Act and the federal court decision ruling the Bloomberg administration stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional, but they also voted in a Comptroller and Public Advocate who support reforms as critical to moving the city forward.

“Stop and frisk is a bad policy," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). "Racial profiling, along with other discriminatory policies, have no place in our great city or our great country. New Yorkers have a fundamental, and constitutionally protected, right to be free from unwarranted police harassment. Even worse, there is no evidence that this great violation of our rights has made us any safer. Yesterday’s election showed that New Yorkers are ready for change and that we have marked the beginning of a new era. Mayor Bloomberg should drop the appeal of the stop-and-frisk ruling and support much needed reforms to this terrible policy. Mayor Bloomberg should work with Mayor-elect De Blasio to protect the civil rights and safety for all of our communities.”

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman added, “To truly begin to reform the NYPD and close the book on New York’s tale of two cities, New York City needs to drop its appeal in the stop-and-frisk cases and work with the community so that those who have paid the price for this illegal program with their liberty can start to trust and respect the Police Department.”

Following the highly controversial decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to grant a stay in the case and remove the presiding judge, the collaborative process of remedies that would unite affected communities with law enforcement and other stakeholders in developing solutions has been delayed. The Second Circuit court’s bizarre action denies justice and resolution to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have been impacted by the Bloomberg administration’s abusive and discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices.

“The legal delays in reforming stop and frisk mean that our civil rights are still being violated and police resources are still being wasted on a tactic that has been proven not to work," said George Gresham, president of New York City's largest union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. "We call on the City to drop its appeal of the federal court's stop-and-frisk ruling, the lawsuit against the new anti-profiling law and we call on the courts to uphold stop and frisk reforms. Just as we need to address economic inequality, we must also make sure that we have policing that respects all New Yorkers' civil rights.”

Council Member Brad Lander noted, “Justice delayed is justice denied. New Yorkers showed yesterday that we are ready to move beyond policing that divides us. The administration should abandon unconstitutional stops and work with impacted communities to return respectful policing to our city.”

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have refused to acknowledge the problems with their stop-and-frisk policy, showing they are outside of the mainstream and out-of-touch. Despite their own data showing its exploding use has failed to make a notable impact on gun violence, they continue to argue it has kept New Yorkers safe from gun violence.

Loyda Colon, Justice Committee Co-Director, observed: "The Bloomberg Administration has it completely backwards. It is the NYPD's stop-and-frisk abuses that have caused irreparable harm to our communities for years.  This harm will continue until meaningful remedies are developed and implemented in collaboration with those directly affected by discriminatory policing."

While people throughout the nation engaged in substantive dialogue about racial profiling in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin verdict – with President Obama calling for localities to take steps to address the issue – the Bloomberg administration fought against civil rights protections that would outlaw all forms of discriminatory profiling.

Rather than working with the City Council and communities to achieve reforms, the administration instead made destructive and deceptive statements and used fearmongering, with Mayor Bloomberg even threatening to use his wealth to seek political revenge against those who rejected his baseless scare tactics.

Under the Bloomberg administration, the use of stop-and-frisk has increased by more than 600%. Nearly nine in ten of those stopped are neither arrested nor issued a summons, and nearly 90% of those stopped are Black or Latino.

New Yorkers were stopped by the NYPD over half a million times in 2012 and over 5 million stops have been made throughout the Bloomberg administration.

Increasing opposition has also focused on how the policy and discriminatory policing more broadly impact the LGBTQ community, immigrants, residents of public housing, the Muslim community, homeless New Yorkers and others.

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has repeatedly stated that he would drop the city’s appeal to the federal court decision and implement the Community Safety Act’s ban on discriminatory profiling and establishment of a NYPD Inspector General. 

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