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Racial Profiling In New York City

According to a story published by The New York Times, people living in Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct were the most likely to be stopped and frisked by police. Over six years, tens of thousands of people were detained and questioned without legal justification.

In hundreds of thousands of additional cases, city cops didn’t provide, on official forms, essential details and reasoning to show if the stop was justified.

Naturally, the NYPD denies the charges revealed in a study by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiff in a widespread pattern of unneeded stops and racial profiling.

Then-Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly rejected the accusation of profiling and said the stops meshed with the racial breakdown of criminal suspects. Prof. Jeffrey A. Fagan of Columbia Law School, found cops lacked the sort of suspicion to make a stop in 30% of the instances.

Roughly 150,000, 6.7% of the stops, were made by an officer based on his discretion instead of responding to a radio call where some data had been collected. Stops were labeled unjustified if cops provided no primary reason which would justify ‘reasonable suspicion’ and lead to a stop.

The Supreme Court of The United States ruled a cop must be able to verbalize suspicion of a crime to stop someone. The officer must have a belief the person is armed and dangerous to justifying frisking.

Speaking of the study, Kelly admitted, “We haven’t had the opportunity to review it.” Instead, he pointed to an earlier study by the Rand Corporation which found no racial profiling by police. That study, commissioned by the NPD indicated stops reflected crime.

In February 1999, Amadou Diallo, a 22-year-old immigrant from New Guinea was shot and killed in the small lobby of the building where he lived in The Bronx. Four white officers fired 41 bullets and hit Diallo 19 times.  The four officers were members of the NYPD Street Crimes United which operated under the slogan, “We Own the Night.”

A NY State report of the unit found blacks were stopped ten-times more than white and 35% of those stops failed to have a reasonable cause.

Thousands went to Diallo’s funeral, and more than 1,200 were arrested in civil disobedience.

The four cops who killed Diallo were acquitted.

What Is Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is the prejudicial procedure by law enforcement when individuals are suspected of a crime centered on race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. Law enforcement often relies on a subgroup of traits believed to be linked to a crime.

Examples often provided include using color to identify which motorists to check for trivial traffic infractions or using race to decide which people to examine for contraband. Another instance is the frequently targeting of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians for detainment for minor immigrant infractions.

Racial profiling does not apply to a cop’s pursuit of a culprit in which the precise report includes race or ethnicity.

Any workable meaning of racial profiling has to include discriminatory commissions by law enforcement. Instances of lynching in America’s south during the civil rights action, southern sheriffs would watch while the KKK intimidated African Americans.

A recent case, from Maryland, is the accusation by an African American man who moved into an all-white community and attacked. Local police didn’t  respond until they busted him for firing his rifle into the air as he tried to scatter a hostile mob.