"New York City has a problem," says Donna Lieberman, Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. The problem, according to Lieberman, is the NYPD's stop and frisk program.
In stats that Lieberman's office provided to PIX 11, the top ten NYPD precincts accounted for more than 185,000 stop and frisks. More than half, approximately 110,000, are from the top five.
Four of those precincts the NYCLU classifies as "majority-minority." As for the one precinct where minorities are not the primary make-up, "Even in the precinct where it is not an overwhelmingly black and Latino population, 88% of the stops were blacks and Latinos," says Lieberman.
The Stop and Frisk program has been a polarizing debate.
Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito was in a well-documented verbal scrap with Commissioner Ray Kelly last week.
The exchange brought the debate to a head according to Mark-Viverito, who told PIX 11 she is hearing more and more about the controversial practice of stop and frisks. "It's coming up in every sort of conversation that I am having throughout my district," says Mark-Viverito, who adds, "It can be the most mundane issue, I was talking with cultural organizations last week and somehow stop and frisk came up in the conversation."
Lieberman feels it paints the wrong image and sends the wrong message, "It creates the environment of a police state and the police department feels like is has a license to stop anybody. That's not a free society. That's not a quality of life for anybody."
It almost may remind some of the policing tactics that the state of Arizona desired in 2010, "This is the way of life that the NYPD has imposed on communities of color here in New York City. It's not Arizona or some outlier.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun