With the Floyd, et. al v. City of New York verdict coming any day now, and it being an election year, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be doing everything in his power to prove that the practice known as stop and frisk is not only valid but necessary. Despite the numerous critics and public outcry, Bloomberg continues to come up with numbers to support his stance. These are just five reasons why his math isn't adding up.
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the NY Daily News, the New York Times, activist groups, and countless others have called out the Bloomberg administration for its inaccurate numbers — and have conducted research that shows that 87% of those who are stopped are people of color, that 4.8 million stops have been made over the past ten years, and that 88% of the time, no evidence of crime is found. To this end, Bloomberg recently has said that "In that case, incidentally, I think, we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little." Yes. He actually said that.
If everything in Stop and Frisk was "by the books," I highly doubt that the Attorney General, Eric Holder, would go on record to say that he would support imposing a federal inspector general to oversee the New York City Police Department. This is pending that Judge Shira Scheindlin will rule in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, but is a telling sign of the ineffectiveness of the practice. Besides, the Justice Department has enough to worry about with the NSA/Snowden Scandal — which shows the significance of the proposed monitor.
Every time that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly or even Mayor Bloomberg speak on the grievances committed, they cite inaccurate, biased numbers in a weak attempt to support their claims that have been busted as myths. It's almost like a weak attempt to save face as their reign is coming to end — and even though 68% of New Yorkers are in favor of an inspector general to monitor the NYPD. Who these "experts" are that Bloomberg and Kelly are using, we have no clue, and probably for a good reason. That coupled with lame attempts at using post-9/11 buzzwords by Kelly on the Community Safety Act, which has a veto-proof majority — saying things like, "Take heart Al Qaeda wannabes." What does that even mean?!
The complaints, protests, and outcry against stop and frisk by the community at large should speak for itself, even if it falls on the deaf ears of the Bloomberg administration. The NY Daily News is also confirming what a lot of New Yorkers already knew — that the number of complaints against the NYPD mirror the number of stop-and-frisk incidents. Stop and frisk has become such a common occurrence that no one is safe from being subjected to it — both men and women, the LGBT community, the homeless, and mentally ill are all fair game in terms of harassment. No one should feel threatened by those who are supposed to "protect and serve" them.
The sheer fact that the people of New York City and the City Council had to come together and put forth legislation to end racial profiling and call for an independent monitor for the NYPD should speak for itself. Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), and Councilmen Jumanee Williams and Brad Lander of Brooklyn banded together to ensure that the bill was not only created, but that it passed by a veto-proof margin.
Councilmember Robert Jackson was quoted on the landmark decision and Bloomberg's reaction as saying, "Our Mayor’s comments prove he just doesn’t get it!" In a city as diverse as New York, stop and frisk has proved that actions are needed to protect the civil liberties that we are supposed to have had all along. Some are skeptical, and rightfully so, that the CSA will live up to its potential - but most people will agree that this is a necessary step in the right direction.