Revolution #214, October 24, 2010


NYPD Stop-and-Frisk:
Massive Injustice Against the People That Must Be STOPPED

In New York City, on the day you are reading this, the police will stop almost 2,000 people and subject them to humiliating questioning and searches. Nine out of ten people stopped will be Black and Latino. Police will use force against one of four people they stop—for example, drawing a weapon or throwing someone to the ground. And as any young person of color in a major U.S. city knows, such an encounter can turn deadly, any day or any minute.

This is not “a few bad cops” or “poor training.” It is both systematic and systemic. There have been almost 3,000,000 of these stops in New York City between 2006 and 2009 and there will be more than 600,000 stops in 2010. The police themselves say that more than 90 percent of those stopped have not violated any laws. And New York City’s “Stop and Frisk” is a model for the whole country.

This program is unjust—and it violates the system’s own laws: The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights and supposedly foundational to the American rule of law, protects against “unwarranted search and seizure” (that is, unreasonable search and arrest).

To answer why this goes on, you have to look at the structures of society that the police are enforcing. Tens of millions of people in this “land of the free” are locked into a life of inferior schools, bad housing, terrible and often non-existent health care, systematic discrimination in jobs and credit and every other sphere of society. These tens of millions of people are blamed for the ills of society. It is these practices—and the system that feeds off and needs these practices—that the police are actually serving and protecting.

Living in constant terror of the illegitimate abuse and violence of the police should never be accepted.

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