By Kate Nocera
A dozen New York lawmakers and several advocacy groups are taking to Capitol Hill on Thursday to call on the Justice Department to investigate the New York City Police department's controversial stop-and-frisk policies.
Following a closed door briefing, a press conference spearheaded by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D.-NY) will be held "to highlight the negative affects stop- and-frisk has had on New York City residents and how it is being used as racial profiling. Elected officials and advocacy groups will also urge the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate the abuses of stop-and-frisk."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the broad stop and frisk policy, but opponents say it unfairly targets black and Hispanic males. Statistics from the NYPD show that more young black males were stopped and frisked in 2011 than there were young black men living in the city.
"Many urban centers have these sorts of policies in place, but New York City has some of the most egregious policies in terms of racial profiling," Clarke said in an interview. "People are getting stopped, 2, 3 times a day, without reason."
Clarke said she was focused on getting the Department of Justice involved.
The event comes on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts marijuana found during a police stop, but had been planned for months Clarke said.
"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," said New York City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams."
Williams will join a slew of state and local politicians for the event including Assembly members Karim Camara, Jeffrion Aubry, William Boyland Jr., Barbara Clark, and Nick Perry, along with Senator Kevin Parker, and Council members Daniel Dromm, Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Deborah Rose.