NYC’s newly elected mayor is en route to fulfilling his campaign promise to end NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” tactics, announcing that the city will drop its appeal of a ruling by U.S. district court Judge Shira Scheindlin. In August, Scheindlin ruled the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” (a.k.a. racial profiling) program unconstitutional. Accompanied by the ACLU & the Center for Constitutional Rights last Tuesday, NYC’s new mayor declared. “We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city. We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.” Mayor de Blasio appears to have been elected right on time as former 3 term Mayor Michael Bloomberg vehemently fought the decision, asserting that the racial profiling police scheme was a crime deterrent. de Blasio was among many who staunchly opposed the use of such policies.
“Public safety and civil liberties walk hand in hand, that’s the idea of this nation that’s embodied in our Constitution. But it wasn’t happening the way it should have happened in this city,” de Blasio told the congregation of the Christian Cultural Center of Brownsville, Brooklyn on Sunday. “That policy unfortunately sent the wrong message. It said that there was something wrong with our young people, it said that they were suspects even when they had done nothing wrong,” he continued. The value of his commitment was amplified by the fact that de Blasio’s message was shared in a neighborhood disproportionately affected by “stop-and-frisk” procedures. In 2010 the New York Times reported that the highest concentration of police stops in the city had occurred in a roughly eight-block area of Brownsville – an area that’s predominately Black.
“Statistics are abundantly clear, over 90 percent of the people stopped during the height of the stop-and-frisk era were innocent in every way, shape or form,” de Blasio said. “That’s the police department’s own statistics. They were innocent but they weren’t treated like law-abiding citizens. What we are now embarking on is a policy that cherishes and works hard and energetically and in a focused manner for public safety every single day with every community but treats the innocent as if they are innocent, the law-abiding as if they are law-abiding.”
In a statement made by the Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, he maintained, “We will not break the law to enforce the law… “That’s my solemn promise to every New Yorker, regardless of where they were born, where they live, or what they look like. Those values aren’t at odds with keeping New Yorkers safe — they are essential to long-term public safety.”
As part of Judge Scheindlin’s ruling, the NYPD will be expected to follow through on Bratton’s promise. Former corporation counsel Peter L. Zimroth has been appointed monitor of the force’s conduct. de Blasio stated that Zimroth’s role is limited to three years, “contingent upon us meeting our obligations,” indicating the right to extend the time limit as needed, The Times reports. In the meantime, “stop-and-frisk” watchdogs will be on full alert in an effort to ensure the policy ceases and desists.