from the high-crimes dept
We've already discussed the abomination NYC Mayor Bloomberg has unleashed on his own people in the form of random searches of scary dark-skinned people, more commonly known as stop and frisk. The justification of a blatantly racist policy that nonetheless undermines the civil liberties of an entire city's population has taken a couple of turns. They started by assuring us they had a checklist, because that apparently means something to someone, somewhere. Then His Honor weighed in on the matter himself, saying:
"Look at what's happened in Boston," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Remember what happened here on 9/11. Remember all of those who've been killed by gun violence and the families they left behind."Got it? We need to let police rummage around in people's pockets because of terrorism and gun violence. Ah, the old simultaneously playing on fear and concern for victims trick. Nicely played, Mr. Mayor. Or, it would have been nicely played if the statistics bore out even a portion of what he said. Unfortunately, thanks to the folks as the NYCLU, the true impact of the stop and frisk program has been revealed in all of its glory, and it essentially amounts to a blip in the gun seizure statistics and a whole lot of people being arrested for marijuana.
Last year, the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 532,911 times, a 448-percent increase in street stops since 2002 – when police recorded 97,296 stops during Mayor Bloomberg's first year in office. Nine out of 10 of people stopped were innocent, meaning they were neither arrested nor ticketed. About 87 percent were black or Latino. White people accounted for only about 10 percent of stops.
The NYCLU analyzed the NYPD's full 2012 computerized stop-and-frisk database, which contains detailed information not included in the quarterly stop-and-frisk reports the Police Department provides the City Council. The analysis examines multiple aspects of the 2012 stop-and-frisk data, including stops, frisks, use of force, reason for stop and recovery of weapons. The analysis provides detailed information at a precinct level and a close examination of race-related aspects of stop-and-frisk.And the survey says? Well, it says that the program has been an absolute failure, unless its intention was always about filling up prisons for non-violent crimes. The analysis shows a complete lack of uniformity in how the program is utilized across precincts, that it is overwhelmingly used to stop minorities (who were found to be innocent at the same 90% rate as everyone else), that the total number of weapons recovered in 2012 increased by a total of 96 guns compared with 2003 when there was no stop and frisk program (a 0.02% increase), and that 26,000 people were stopped for offenses related to marijuana. Arrests due to marijuana possession were the most common reason for arrest resulting from stop and frisk.
What does this mean? Well, it means Mayor Bloomberg is either a liar or he simply doesn't know what he's talking about. To say that stop and frisk is all about combating terrorism and illegal guns, despite the program's lack of success doing either, shows a frightening level of incompetence and/or malice. All of this on top of the fact that violent crime is on a decline in New York City. Keep in mind that all of this comes at the cost of distrust of police by citizens, distrust of government by citizens, and the disenfranchisement of the minority population. Oh, and unless you've been sleeping the past year, you probably know that the laws surrounding marijuana in this country are becoming more lax by the minute.
With nearly nothing to show for it, how does His Honor continue to defend such a deplorable policy?