A multitude of New York police officers, many of whom are minorities, have expressed their opposition to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, which allows police to stop and search any person they suspect of criminal activity.
Most of the people who have been stopped and frisked under the program have been African-American or Hispanic, prompting concerns over racial profiling. But the NYPD has long argued that the program is necessary to reduce crime and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly defended the initiative.
But while the NYPD as an organization advocates for the use of the stop and frisk program, cops have individually expressed their opposition to the policy that allows them to racially profile New York residents.
Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told the congregation of the Brooklyn-based Nazarene Congregational Church that his organization is hearing complaints about the stop-and-frisk program from NYPD officers who are also NAACP members, AP reports.
“I ask you, before you leave, repair the damage you have done,” Jealous said in a message to Bloomberg, made before the congregation. “Kids in the city are too afraid of the very people who have sworn to respect and protect them.”
Jealous referred to the stop-and-frisk program as a type of “fear-mongering”.
And if NYPD cops are privately complaining about stop-and-frisk to the NAACP, it may indicate that they themselves are too intimidated to speak up about the program publicly. Nearly half of all NYPD officers are minorities, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2010. With some of these cops complaining to the NAACP, there exists significant concern about minority rights being violated by the program.
Stop-and-frisk has already come under widespread criticism from those who believe the practice causes cops to intimidate innocent people, mostly minorities. Jealous believes that there’s “no statistical relationship between stop-and-frisk and New York City’s steadily dropping crime rate” and that there’s “increasing discomfort among the rank-and-file of the NYPD about this police,” AP reports.
In 2011, 684,330 people were stopped and questioned by the NYPD, 87 percent of which were African-American or Latino. Only 12 percent of those who were stopped were found violating the law in some manner.
Jealous said that if New York City’s next mayor does nothing to combat the stop-and-frisk policies advocated by Bloomberg, the NAACP will march in opposition to the initiatives.
“It shows division in this greatest of all cities, because it puts a wedge between the most victimized neighborhoods in the city, and the very people who have sworn a professional oath to protect and serve,” Jealous told WCBS 880. And with police officers themselves opposing the program, he finds it inexcusable for the NYPD to continue advocating for such a controversial program.