In this episode of The World As I Like It To Be, Detective Small and I discuss the controversial NYC program stop and frisk.
Detective Small is a retired police officer who spent two decades in the New York City Police Department.
His unit, the human relations unit, gave advanced specialized training to patrolmen and bosses alike.
This is the second part of our interview series where I want to revisit some of the most controversial scandals and programs the police department has ever undertaken.
And I want to look at them through the prism of race and race relations.
Stop and Frisk – a good program?
We begin this episode with the very controversial police program called stop and frisk used heavily by the New York City Police Department under then chief police chief Bratton.
The program, which was initially called stop and question, added the “frisk” when compstat was introduced to the NYC police department by then Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Maple.
Use of stop-and-frisk is often associated with “broken windows” policing. The “broken windows theory” is the theory that low-level crime and disorder creates an environment which encourages more serious crimes. Among the key proponents of the theory are George L. Kelling and William Bratton, who was Chief of the New York City Transit Police from 1990 to 1992 and Commissioner of the New York City Police Department from 1994 to 1996. Mayor Rudy Giuliani hired Bratton for the latter job and endorsed broken windows policing. Giuliani and Bratton presided over an expansion of the New York police department and a crackdown on low-level crimes, including fare evasion, public drinking, public urination, graffiti artists, and “squeegee men” (who had been wiping windshields of stopped cars and aggressively demanding payment).
Bratton and Kelling argue that stop-and-frisk has been wrongly conflated with broken windows policing. They argue that stop-and-frisk is a short-term tactic for preventing a potential crime, whereas broken windows policing is a long-term tactic that requires the police to engage with communities.
President Trump says it stopped crime. Did it?
According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump, during the campaign, argued stop and frisk was an effective deterrent against crime and that it had not been ruled unconstitutional.
“We did it in New York,” Trump tells a member of the audience, adding that “it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind.”
This would be the second time the President made that claim which Politifact called “mostly false”.
According to Huffpost, NYCLU released a report which caused then candidate for mayor Bill De Blasio to call for an audit of the program.
The reports findings were damning:
An analysis by the NYCLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports.
Detective Small has very honest and personal views. They are his own and do not reflect the views of VTIP Entertainment or New York City Police Department.
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