Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Halt the spread of New York stop-and-frisk disease

Parkinson’s constitutional law: If New York cops can ignore the Fourth Amendment there, then other cops can -- and soon will -- ignore it anywhere. Stopping kids (about half of New York stops mean a frisk) on their way to school or home from sports practice is as about as far from Fourth Amendment acceptable practice as any police can get.
”The demographics of Teachers Preparatory High School in Brownsville are 99 percent black and Latino.  It takes only five minutes to find a group of 14-year olds here who say they have been stopped by police two, three, even seven times.”  “Last year, there were more than 120,000 stops of black and Latino children between 14 and 18. The total number of black and Latino boys that age in the entire city isn’t much more than that – about 177,000 …”  http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2012/may/29/city-teenagers-say-stop-and-frisk-all-about-race-and-class/

Males 15 to 34 who live in one Brownsville housing project are liable to be stopped on the average five times a year.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/nyregion/12frisk.html?_r=4&pagewanted=all

And for what?  “The 13,200 stops the police made in this neighborhood last year resulted in arrests of 109 people. In the more than 50,000 stops since 2006, the police recovered 25 guns.”  Police could find more criminal evidence – likely much more – kicking down 50,000 random doors without warrants.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/nyregion/12frisk.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

For what?  56 stops, 36 frisks in sector E of the 75th precinct on one day -- May 13, 2012 -- yielded no weapons, one arrest for transporting building materials without proof of ownership, one ticket for open container.  http://www.bkbureau.org/one-day-life-stop-and-frisk

All for what?  2005 – 2009 violent crime fell nearly 20% across New York City – in the "assume the position" 73rd Precinct only 1.5%.  http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/07/11/nyregion/1247468422062/stop-and-frisk-in-brownsville-brooklyn.html

Before other American habitats emulate New York's mayor’s hyperactive stop-and-frisk habits, would do well to ponder too his concomitant, out of control mega-courthouse constructions.  The late '60s, early '70s crime blowout overloaded Bronx County Courthouse – the architectural anchor of the Grand Concourse since 1933 (seen in home plate views from the old Yankee Stadium).  To catch the overflow the city built a brand spanking new $120 million courthouse down the block in 1977. 

Beginning in the '90s crime receded something like 4X across New York City.  But Mad Mayor Bloomberg thought nothing of upping another $400 million for a mega-courthouse down the block from the old-new Bronx courthouse and the not-that-old landmark in 2005 (in the poorest congressional district in the country). Same year, same post-4X drop in crime, same Mayor "over-do everything for nothing" Bloomberg dumped another $670 million for a mega-courthouse in Brooklyn. 
The new:

6X as many stops and frisks – inaugurated after -- New York crime dropped 4X = 24X as many stops and frisks per reported crime. All visited upon minorities who never possessed much more of this world's goods than their personal dignity (they used to possess that). Now San Francisco's Mayor Lee (and doubtless many local governments; Oakland's for one) is reported pondering what benefit imposing New York style Fourth Amendment nullification might do for his poorest neighborhoods.  If it’s all pain and no gain for New York's minorities (nullifying the Fourth Amendment is not acceptable even if it does accomplish something), it’s no good for anybody, anywhere.

[LATE NOTE -- TO BE WORKED IN SOME WHERE ON THIS BLOG: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120921/concourse-village/stop-and-frisk-data-projected-onto-bronx-buildings] 

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