An explosive new profanity-laced audio recording obtained by The Nation showing the NYPD performing a particularly aggressive and racially charged stop-and-frisk of a 16-year-old Harlem student is generating an uproar and fueling renewed efforts to end the controversial practice.

Today, in New York’s City Council, members are debating proposals aimed at halting the NYPD’s hundreds of thousands of “stop-and-frisk” stops each year. After years of complaints that the stops are racially discriminatory, the hearings signal that the public debate has gotten loud enough that lawmakers feel they have to be a part of it, whether they want to join the chorus of critics or defend the program. 


The Community Safety Act is a landmark police reform legislative package currently pending in the New York City Council that consists of four bills aimed at ending discriminatory policing. If you’re a New York City resident, implore your local reps to support the CSA. If you’re not, please share this post with any friends, family or Facebook and Twitter contacts who may live in NYC. All US residents should demand that their senators support the End Racial Profiling Act, which could also put “stop-and-frisk” out of business. 


Writing in The Nation last June, David Cole explained why the vast majority of stop-and-frisks are never subjected to judicial review: because most stops don’t lead to arrests. Thus, these encounters are not “policed” by courts the way arrests are. And not surprisingly, when police officers—like anyone else—know they are not being watched, they are likely to cut corners.


The Nation’s exclusive video is believed to be the only recording of a stop-and-frisk ever released to the public.


A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we’ll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help, we can make real change.