Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stopping and Frisking

New York City has become a Police State, this recent report on Democracy Now talks with a former policemen, and a lawyer, who are trying to shut down "The Stop and Frisk" policy, which has become an avenue for racial profiling. Here is a 1st hand account of this policy in action by former Officer Polanco.

"We would stop a person on the street and on a corner, because the sergeant says, "Stop him." Why? You don’t ask. You just stop him, you frisk him. If it’s possible, you search him. And these kids, sometimes they’re just walking home from school. They’re just walking to the store. They’re just—they’re not doing absolutely anything. They’re not doing absolutely anything. And it’s a really humiliating feeling. When they go through your pockets, when they stop you, you don’t have no freedom. If you stop and then tell the officer, "I’m not—I don’t have to give you my ID. I don’t have to give you my name," which is within the law—the law allows you to do that—you’re going to get hurt. In the Bronx, you are going to get hurt.

My turning point was with a bunch of kids on a corner stopped by the commanding officer. There was a 13-year-old Mexican in the group. "Polanco, cuff him." I said, "For what?" "Cuff him. You don’t ask me questions. Cuff him, bring him back." His brother come to ask, "Why? What’s going on with my brother? He’s walking home from school. Officer, did he do anything stupid?" The commanding officer looked at my partner, told her, "Cuff him, too. Bring him in." "For what?" "Oh, we will figure it out later. Just bring him in." And that was my turning point. That was the time I said, "You know what? Why should I do it to a kid that’s just walking home from school, that we know is not doing anything? Why should I do that? This is not what I became a cop for. This is not what I wanted to do."

He says something later which needs to be echoed more by Law Enforcement.

"Harassing innocent people is not going to help the community, it only harms it."

Installing fear into people does not really work, especially in these strong urban communities with strong cultural identities. 

These quotas installed by the Police, forces for results, and does not give a proactive stance on crime that makes us feel safer, shit is still going down. Even off duty,  Officer Polanco was a victim of the "Stop and Frisk" policy, from an unmarked car and an undercover cop, and was never said sorry or why he was targeted.  He also talks about the Quotas being illegal, because it kind of perverts police power, but the whole system is pretty messed up.  The pressure of Police management and adminstrators to regular officers, about meeting their quotas, is sending New York City into an almost Orwellian city state.

Polanco ends his interview on the show, by saying that it is so easy to be a cop right now, go to some street corner and arrest a brown or black kid, and then put hours of overtime in, and no one is the wiser, especially not Mayor Bloomberg. Wonderful...

And here's a guide and how to "Be okay with having a communist friend." Not sure if serious or sarcastic, but point 4 kind makes me chuckle. Funny how everyone looks Chinese, with their history and whatnot (Mao).

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