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Community combats cop’s racial profiling

AUTODIDACT 17 | 2/9/2017, 12:36 p.m.
Already during this brief post-Obama period, community activists are figuring out ways to combat the NYPD’s racial profiling of New ...
NYPD Photo by Bill Moore

Already during this brief post-Obama period, community activists are figuring out ways to combat the NYPD’s racial profiling of New York City’s citizens of color.

According to NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services and Police Reform Organizing Project statistics regarding 2016 NYPD arrests, the practice of police racially profiling inner-city residents has continued.

One of the primary concerns raised is President Trump’s recent executive order that calls for the deportation of immigrants who have only been charged, but not yet convicted, of certain criminal offenses—according to the executive order, immigrants who “have been charged with any criminal offense where such charge has not been resolved.” These “broken windows” tactics create highly perilous circumstances for immigrant New Yorkers.

According to the PROP stats, “In 2016, 86.5 percent of NYPD misdemeanor arrests involved New Yorkers of color, compared to 87 percent in 2015 and 85.8 percent in 2014.”

Their report reads, “Despite de Blasio’s promise to reduce marijuana sanctions, NYPD arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana increased last year by nearly 10 percent, 18,136 in 2016 compared to 16,569 in 2015. Some NYPD arrest categories in 2016 involved 90 percent or more New Yorkers of color: theft of services (usually fare-evasion and the second most numerous arrest category of the year): 91.5 percent; marijuana possession: 90 percent; trespass: 91 percent. Misdemeanor arrests make up the large bulk of the NYPD’s arrests, consisting in over 2/3 of the arrests made. The NYPD made 179,660 misdemeanor arrests last year, averaging 429/day, 3,455/week and 14,972/month.”

The PROP report contends, “These numbers expose the harsh reality that the NYPD persists in applying quota-driven ‘broken windows’ arrest practices that target low income New Yorkers of color for engaging in minor infractions that have been virtually decriminalized in white neighborhoods. Unjustified by any criteria in normal times, this law enforcement approach is especially objectionable in this terrible Trump moment when the federal government threatens to sweep up and dump into deportation procedures sizable numbers of arrested immigrants who, like the rest of us, are supposed to be presumed innocent, before their cases are settled.”

The report continues, “Mayor de Blasio cannot credibly sustain his putative stance as a champion and protector of immigrant rights while he also champions a policing strategy, ‘broken windows,’ that has the undeniable effect of violating those rights and of endangering the lives and well-being of our city and country’s most politically vulnerable people. We will make the complete set of arrest data from the Division of Criminal Justice Services available upon request.”

To support PROP’s court-monitoring project, people are asked to attend the Brooklyn Criminal Court (120 Schermerhorn St.), Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. and the Ethical Culture Society (2 W. 64th St.), Feb. 22, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

To support PROP and continue the push for police reform, contact Robert Gangi, Director, Police Reform Organizing Project, 917-327-7648 or bgangi@propnyc.org, or contact Maesha Meto, Project Coordinator, maeshasamiha@gmail.com.