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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mayor Ed Lee Gets a Friendly Letter From NYC Politician About Stop & Frisk Policy

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM

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New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams sent Mayor Ed Lee a letter to offer a little advice in regards to his controversial statements about possibly implementing a stop-and-frisk plan in San Francisco, similar to the practices in NYC.

A self-described "strong opponent" of NYC's stop-and-frisk laws, Williams told Lee that the policies had resulted in "civil rights violations of hundreds of thousands of honest, law-abiding New Yorkers, the majority of them young men of more color."

In his letter, Williams admitted that the problem wasn't so much the stop-and-frisk policy itself, but rather the manner in which it was carried out by the police department. The result was an unconstitutional practice of racial profiling, he said.

The problem, Williams says, is that the "standard of reasonable suspicion has been seriously abused by the NYPD, who have employed a quota system to drive up perceived performance and to institute an arbitrary and inaccurate measure of productivity."

The ACLU has come forward with similar findings, reporting that of the 4 million New Yorkers stopped and questioned by the police over the last decade, 90 percent had not committed any crime. 

Lee has said he's concerned about the recent uptick of gun violence in the community, which might make this stop-and-frisk plan seem like an appealing prevention tactic. However, Williams points out that the policies have failed in curbing the proliferation of illegal guns on the street. If anything, it has simply contributed to the mounting distrust between cops and the community.

S.F. Public Defender Jeff Adachi agrees that stop-and-frisk policies would do more harm than good, pointing out that fewer than 2 percent of the hundreds of thousands of frisks performed by the NYPD last year resulted in the discovery of a weapon.

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