Monday, July 16, 2012

Bloomberg and Kelly Have Blood on Their Hands

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have blood on their hands. The skyrocketing shootings in our city are resulting from their adherence to racism and their rejection of common sense.

Stop and Frisk Costs Lives

As we have discussed many times, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have been harassing and humiliating innocent people of color throughout our city (in high crime areas and low crime areas in communities of color and in white communities) in record numbers every year since they rose to power, and they have been allowing criminals to thrive

As Judge Scheindlin notes in her opinion, a report by the legal scholar Jeffrey Fagan found that blacks and Latinos were more likely to be stopped at police discretion, not just in high-crime, high-minority areas, but in districts where crime is minimal and populations are mixed.
Police officials say that officers stop people when they have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. An analysis last year by The Times of street stops in one mainly black Brooklyn neighborhood found that officers listed vague reasons in half the stops, including “furtive movement,” a category that can be used to mask harassment.
The Fagan report found that arrests are made in less than 6 percent of all street stops — a lower rate than if the police simply set up random checkpoints. Less than 1 percent of stops turned up weapons. This suggests that hundreds of thousands of people, mostly minorities, have been stopped for no legitimate reason — or worse, because of the color of their skin.
The Police Department says it has a training program that explains proper arrest procedure and warns officers against racial profiling. But Judge Scheindlin was sharply critical of those efforts, noting that numerous officers did not recall ever receiving such training.
The NYPD has been using skin color to stop innocent people while letting real criminals go free. The Village Voice recently highlighted the NYPD's lack of willingness to address criminal activities.
Investigators went beyond [the whistle blower's] specific claims and found many other instances in the 81st Precinct where crime reports were missing, had been misclassified, altered, rejected, or not even entered into the computer system that tracks crime reports.

These weren't minor incidents. The victims included a Chinese-food delivery man robbed and beaten bloody, a man robbed at gunpoint, a cab driver robbed at gunpoint, a woman assaulted and beaten black and blue, a woman beaten by her spouse, and a woman burgled by men who forced their way into her apartment.

"When viewed in their totality, a disturbing pattern is prevalent and gives credence to the allegation that crimes are being improperly reported in order to avoid index-crime classifications," investigators concluded. "This trend is indicative of a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st Precinct."
Stop and Frisk Does Not Reduce Crime

We have previously focused on the fact that stop and frisk does not reduce crime.

[A]lthough the stop-and-frisk rate increased six fold, the murder rate continued the same slight rate of decline during the last decade as it has since 1997. See the graph above. In fact, crime was reduce sharply in the early 1990's because of a massive increase in police officers and a Dinkins-led tactic called "community policing".

In 2002, Ray Kelly criticized stop and frisk.

“A large reservoir of good will was under construction” before Mr. Giuliani, he told the City Bar Association. “It was called community policing. But it was quickly abandoned for tough-sounding rhetoric and dubious stop-and-frisk tactics that sowed new seeds of community mistrust.”

He has changed his mind.

Mayor Bloomberg and his police chief Ray Kelly defend stop and frisk tactics by using the "big lie" that stop and frisk reduces crime. They know it does not reduce crime, yet they increase the number of young men of color who are stopped each year. They vocally and forcefully defend the practice as if their minds have been replaced by the mind of Bull Connor.

Time for Bloomberg and Kelly to Leave Office

We have experienced a recent dramatic rise in shootings. Bloomberg and Kelly have been obsessed with the racist stop and frisk approach, and that obsession is now costing lives in large numbers. This trend cannot be tolerated. If Bloomberg were one-tenth as focused on reducing crime as he has been on defending his racist law enforcement approach, preventing people of color from joining the Fire Department, maintaining the whitest administration in generations, and preventing children of color from entering gifted and talented programs, crime would be dropping rather than skyrocketing.

Now, after 11 years of the Mayor's refusal to follow common sense and after 11 years of the Mayor's unapologetic adherence to an Apartheid system, we need a new direction; we can ill afford to wait for the Mayor's current term to end. He must leave now.

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