The other night Lawrence O'Donnell presented some interesting statistics on New York's Stop & Frisk program, so vehemently defended by Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelley. Here's some of what Lawrence revealed on the Last Word:
"The program has made New York City the safest big cities in America." -- Mayor Bloomberg
"New York City and it's police department have focused their crime fighting efforts to protect the poorest members of our community who are disproportionately the victims of murder and other violent crimes." -- Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Boy, that sounds pretty good as an argument. But how factual and effective are they at implementing this program? Are the police really taking guns off the street and preventing serious crimes, breaking up drug cartels, and stemming violence?
Maybe these statistics will sober you from the Last Word program.
Statistics show that White people who are stopped are 40% are more likely to have weapons on them than Black people.
Overall, only 1.4% of people stopped are carrying any weapons at all.
That's pretty weak justification for this constitutionally questionable program at best. So here's more statistics to give perspective on S&F, from the New York Civil Liberties Union.
In 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 532,911 times
473,644 were totally innocent (89 percent).
284,229 were black (55 percent).
165,140 were Latino (32 percent).
50,366 were white (10 percent).
So what we have here is something that's not building community support, but fracturing it. It's driving away the very people it should be protecting, by the commissioner's own words. Here's a first hand story about the realities of Stop & Frisk -- how it really goes down. And despite the mayor's claim of protecting people, it's actually destroying them and their dignity. The police promote courtesy, professionalism and respect. Hardly. See for yourself.
On the heels of this young man's testimonial, I have decided to make an appeal to Police Commissioner Kelly. Show your independence. Do your job. No man is above the law. So if you're not profiling, I ask you to please, one morning or afternoon when the Mayor is out of his office, on the street, have a squad car pull up to him. Have them Stop and Frisk him. Turn out his pockets. Toss his briefcase onto the ground. Question him on what business he has being in that neighborhood. Examine him and treat him with the same "respect" they showed Kaseem Walters on numerous occasions. Run a background check on him. Make him late for a meeting or a lunch. Let him see exactly what minorities are going through. Maybe then he'll have a different song to sing. Let him receive the same protections or loss of civil rights that others feel. And don't make a publicity stunt out of it. No need for news camera crews. Then he might know it's coming. Make it unannounced, and independent. The city will be safer for it.
Oh, and be warned -- the Mayor's packing a gun. We wouldn't want some trigger happy cop shooting the mayor like your men did a year ago at the Empire State Building shootout.