Today the New York City Police Department, under the leadership of Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will conduct its five millionth stop-and-frisk procedure, according to a data analysis from the New York Civil Liberties Union.
For more than a decade now it's been customary for New York cops to stop people in the streets without reasonable suspicion, pat them down, and search their belongings, occasionally threatening to break the citizens' arms in the process. Despite the fact that many civil-liberties activists have pointed out that stop and frisk does little to deter crime, and despite the fact that 88 percent of stop-and-frisk victims turn out to be innocent, the NYPD has pushed forth with the controversial tactic.
And would you believe that 86 percent of people detained for stop and frisks are black or Latino?
Back in 2000, a man stood before the New York City Bar Association and lamented that, under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the goodwill work of "community policing" in New York City had been abandoned in favor of "tough-sounding rhetoric and dubious stop-and-frisk tactics that sowed new seeds of community mistrust." That man was Ray Kelly, and two years later he'd be the NYPD's police commissioner.
As it surpasses this 5-million-person milestone on this momentous day, the NYPD has now stopped and frisked more people than the entire populations of Ireland, New Zealand, Lebanon, Costa Rica, or Uruguay. Or, if you'd like, more people than live in Jamaica and Slovenia combined. Happy 5 million, Ray!
[Image via AP]