Today, U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke, welcomed New York Assemblyman Karim Camara, and New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams along with members of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and the New York City Council Black, Latino and Asian Caucus to examine the implications of the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) stop-and-frisk practices. They denounced the overreaching use of the stop-and-frisk practices by the NYPD and called for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate the abuses of stop-and-frisk.
"It is an honor to host the New York City and state local elected officials who have to Capitol Hill to brief Members of Congress on the overreaching and abusive use of stop-and-frisk practices within the NYPD. We cannot allow viable crime fighting tools to become vehicles for racial profiling. As we have seen across this nation, racial profiling undermines the safety of our communities and creates a rift between law enforcement and residents. When a crime fighting tool is used to target innocent individuals solely based on their religion, race or ethnicity, we leave our communities vulnerable to the true perpetrators of crime," stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
"The NYPD practice of Stop and Frisk greatly needs to be reformed. Thousands of young minorities are stopped when there is no legitimate "reasonable suspicion' but based on racial and cultural stereotypes. Stripping individuals of their constitutional rights for "furtive movements and suspicious clothing', creates a deep seeded mistrust of the NYPD, and understandably so," said NY State Assemblyman Karim Camara. "I represent the high crime areas that are subject to an exorbitant amount of stops and frisks however according to the statistics of the NYPD the practice is at best 10% effective. Why are we continuing a practice that is not effective, without even thinking about considerable reforms to make it work for all New Yorkers?"
"We in the City Council have presented solid evidence as to the abuse of stop, question and frisk in New York City, yet City Hall and One Police Plaza have failed to act. We can produce better policing and safer streets for all New Yorkers with reform, which is why my colleagues and I are traveling to Washington to sound the alarm. This policy is rooted in part in a practice of racial profiling that exists in municipalities across this country. Adding insult to injury, according to the NYPD's own data they have failed the prime objective of lowering shootings, proving the policy is ineffective. I hope Congress will join us and champion the tens of thousands of victims in this city," stated NY City Council Member Jumaane Williams.
A broad coalition of advocacy groups shared their expertise at the briefing. They included the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), American Civil Liberties Coalition, Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) and the NAACP.
"The lack of accountability for the Bloomberg Administration's discriminatory policing leaves New Yorkers with little choice but to seek oversight and remedy from the federal government," said Djibril Toure, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). "We are here to inform members of Congress about the counterproductive and illegal use of stop-and-frisk and other discriminatory policing in New York, and we will continue engaging more and more New Yorkers to hold our leaders accountable for the NYPD's discriminatory tactics."
"There is growing sense of frustration building in communities across NYC who feel that the NYPD operates on a presumption of guilty until proven innocent. Our membership as mostly Muslim immigrants also face stop and frisk, surveillance as Muslim communities, harassment as low-wage workers like cab drivers and street vendors, and targeting as youth in public schools. It is the same pattern of broad suspicion especially across communities of color," stated Monami Maulik, Executive Director, DRUM (Deiss Rising Up & Moving), member of Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC).