I first learned about it about 15 years ago, it being how the NYC Police Department was upping its stop and frisk operations in the name of cleaning up the city. As stop and frisk became routine, so did targeting people of color communities and very often that came with less than courteous, professional, and respectful behavior on the part of the NYPD. Complaints with the Civilian Complaint Review Board rose as did the number of lawsuits over harassment, brutality, and deaths.
Today in 2010, stop and frisks are the norm again, as is the racial profiling that tends to go with it. But what happens to the information of the stopped and the frisked especially the overwhelming majority of people who provide their ids and are never arrested or fined?
A bill presented in the NY State Senate would prevent the NYPD from keeping that information, as they do now. The NYPD argues that just because a person isn’t arrested or fined when they are stopped doesn’t mean that they are innocent. Thus the NYPD creates premptive criminal files of innocent, overwhelmingly people of color, just in case.
One of the sponsors of the bill is State Senator Eric Adams, who came up politically during the Giuliani years when he headed 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement and often spoke out against police brutality. Interestingly enough, Adams also sponsored a bill that would grant Port Authority workers the right to stop and frisk.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg isn’t happy about the bill and implied that it being signed by Governor Paterson would lead to a rise in crime.
Seems like the last thing our communities need are our names on more lists. Even in a place as assumed liberal in NY, we have to remember that New York State is a Secure Community. With lists floating around, the possibility for abuse rises.
Note added July 16, 2010 : Governor Paterson is expected to sign this bill into law today.