On Father’s Day, June 17, I joined thousands of other concerned New Yorkers in a silent march down Fifth Avenue from 110th Street to 78th Street to protest the New York Police Department’s (“NYPD”) discriminatory Stop, Question and Frisk (“Stop and Frisk”) policy. Organized by a coalition including civil rights, faith, labor, and community groups, the march proceeded in silence as an illustration of both the tragedy and serious threat Stop and Frisk and other forms of racial profiling present to our society.
It is my firm belief that an effective police force must have strong working relationships with the communities it is sworn to protect. Unfortunately, the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk practices deserve deep scrutiny and raise legitimate concerns about racial profiling, illegal stops and violations of privacy rights that must be addressed and reformed.
While the NYPD has unquestionably performed well in reducing crime and generally establishing an open and honest dialogue with the residents of our City, the disproportionate numbers of innocent black and Latino New Yorkers subjected to Stop and Frisk have, sadly, sewn honest, understandable distrust and animosity toward the Department in many communities. Moreover, as a volunteer civics teacher in a New York City public high school, I have heard of the negative impact that this policy has had on young people who have been stopped by the police.
The march was very effective in focusing public and media attention on this misguided NYPD policy and we must continue to work in coalition until it is reformed.