Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Stop, Question, Frisk' Tactics in NYC Reminiscent of Slave Patrols

In order for slavery to be effective as practiced in the United States, the peculiar institution had to maintain strict control over slaves both on and off the plantation. Runaways represented a loss of labor and productivity, so to reduce the chance of that occurring, plantation owners established slave patrols.

Slave patrols had the authority to question, and sometimes punish, any slave they encountered traveling between plantations. Their general objective was control of the slave population through physical intimidation. Kenneth Stampp described slave patrols as a pseudo-police force that were even sanctioned by local political bodies. In her book Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters, Sally E. Hadden pointed out that the system of slave patrols that existed from the 1700s through the Civil War, helped give rise to the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction.

That was history, but today in Brooklyn, N.Y., this practice continues. Nightly on the streets and around the public housing complexes in the Brownsville neighborhood, large contingents of police officers, most fresh to the beat patrol, question, frisk and detain people via the controversial tactic known as “Stop, Question, Frisk.”

Just entering a public housing project for these officers is reason enough to ask for identification, and run warrant checks. They even stop youth for riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the New York Civil Liberties Union reported that between January 2006 and March 2010, police made nearly 52,000 stops in an eight-block area. Police recorded the names of those stopped regardless of whether they were arrested or not. This is roughly equal to one stop a year for each of the estimated 14,000 neighborhood residents.

These activities result in very few arrests (less than 1 percent), in contrast to the 6 percent of stops that result in arrests across the entire city.

The United States Supreme Court has held that in order for the police to frisk someone they must have a reasonable belief that the person is armed and dangerous. Reasonable suspicion of a crime is not a legal justification for a policeman to frisk an individual.

People need to recognize that these activities are similar to those of the night riders. The only difference is that these individuals drive cars instead of horses and wear blue uniforms instead of white robes. This is not an indictment of individual police officers, but rather a system that continues to practice intimidation tactics that were used during slavery to control and keep the population enslaved.


T.C. said...

We have been talking to our youth about DMC (disproportionate minority contact) for a while now and this only proves the point even further. I will be sharing this with the youth as well to add to what we are already teaching...please continue to keep us all informed.

nicki nicki tembo said...

A lot of similarities between commissioner Kelly and sheriff Arpaio. But then there will always be inherent racism in our capitalist system. That's an entirely different discussion but uh...

I've been following the story of this present day Serpico - a cop name Adrian Schoolcraft. Dude recorded his day to day interactions in the NYPD and it was nothing nice. It's cost him everything but his life but thanks to the man and others that have corroborated his story a clearer picture of the corruption and racism within the NYPD has never been evidenced. The cops were making up stories to detain and bring people in off the streets. Looking for a nigga? I guess any one would do. Making matters worse, the NYPD collected (and are maintaining) personal info on these non-offenders with which a data bank has been created. And no crime committed - get dafuck outta here!

Did you see those stats:
- blacks 9x's more likely to be stopped in NYC
- blacks are twice as likely to have physical forced used on them
- over half a million stops with only 34,000 arrest
- when arrest were actually made, whites constituted a greater percentage of those numbers and were more likely to be carrying a weapon

The plantation still exist.

Vandetta said...

This is sad and true. It is a shame that people refuse to admit that racial profiling does not exist. On the way home after working two shifts, I saw a car speed up to get behind me. It was dark and I couldn't tell what type of car it was. So I drove down another street and doubled back to the original street I was on (like a square). The car turned around to meet me (I assume). It was a cop. Since we were going in opposite directions, he decided to make a u-turn and pull me over. "Why did you turn down that street?" (No lie. That was his actual question.) I told him I saw a suspicious car speeding up to get behind me, and because it's not against the law for me to go down that street. Long story short, I filed a complaint. SMH.

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