In this July 18, 2012 photo, a woman and children walk past a street mural depicting individual rights during a stop-and-frisk in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
At first glance, the NYPD’s reliance on stop-and-frisk appears on its last legs. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled the practice unconstitutional and New York City mayoral candidates are suddenly eager to condemn it. But the Community Safety Act, an initiative that would ban discriminatory profiling by the NYPD and establish oversight over of the department, is still languishing after Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the legislation last spring. The mayor, who has vehemently defended the NYPD’s practice of targeting communities of color, continues to use his considerable power to defeat the law.
The New York City Council is expected to hold an override vote on the Community Safety Act this month. If you live in New York City, join The Nation in calling on the council to pass this vital piece of legislation, then take a minute to call your councilmember to make sure they know where you stand. No matter where you live, you can spread the word in social media with the hashtag #CommunitySafetyAct and lend your support to Communities United for Police Reform.
The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith sums up Mayor Bloomberg’s response to the stop-and-frisk ruling: “Bloomberg and Kelly denied that stop-and-frisk is racist, but then claimed it wasn’t racist enough, and now want everyone to believe that even if it is racist it doesn’t matter because it works.”
In a footnote to her decision, Judge Scheindlin referred to an investigative documentary video produced by The Nation last year. The video, which includes the only known recording of a stop by a civilian, centers on Alvin Cruz, who was verbally harassed during a 2011 stop in Harlem.