There was a thread that I read in the MCNO email listserv that I found increasingly insulting about how the answer to crime in New Orleans was to initiate a stop and frisk policy. Below was my response. I think I just walked into their house, told them all why and how to fuck themselves, and smoke pelleted out. Oh well. That was my first post, too.
I usually lurk in this group, especially avoiding the massive strings of debate/arguments that tend to develop in conversations about the NOPD or MCSD, but I really had to respond to the idea that stop and frisk is a policy that should be implemented in New Orleans, an idea that is based on little factual information. The reason why stop and frisk has recently been the topic of so much conversation is because studies have finally been released that find that it is an expensive policy that has not been effective, but has been racist and contributed to communities of color not trusting the police and, you know, generally feeling oppressed and criminalized for being Black or Brown.
Here are some facts for the factless, which can be found in your local Google search:
- In 2011, 685,724 people were stopped, 84% of whom were Black and Latino.
- Blacks and Latinos represent 23% and 29% percent of NYC's total population.
- 88% of 2011 stops did not result in an arrest or a summons being given.
- Contraband was found in only 2% of all stops.
- Weapons were recovered in only 1% of all stops.
- Blacks and Latinos are more likely to have physical forced used against them.
- Stops made of Whites were slightly more likely to yield contraband.
- Whites were twice as likely to be found with a weapon.
Here's a list of "15 Shocking Facts About a Controversial Program" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/nypd-stop-and-frisks-15-shocking-facts_n_1513362.html), which are not at all shocking if you have a degree in sociology or live in America with your head outside of your rear end.
If you actually care about how the victims of this NYPD policy feel, see this video here from the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46979745/vp/46843623#46843623
Hard data from the NYPD itself, that most of these articles and the lawsuit itself quote. (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/analysis_and_planning/stop_question_and_frisk_report.shtml)
An article that weighs the pros and cons (http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120519/OPINION/205190303/-1/SITEMAP). The author seems to conclude that the racial profiling is worth the lower murder rate, but:
Another article about how stop and frisks have not decreased shootings in NYC (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/06/stop-and-frisks-havent-stopped-shootings.html).1. The crime rate is lower than it was in the 80's, but I'm not sure if comparing current numbers to numbers that existed 3 decades ago is useful - surely stop and frisk is not the only policy that's changed about the NYPD or the city in general that could affect crime during all of that time?2. As this article points out (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120605/new-york-city/stop-and-frisks-have-done-little-reduce-shootings-nypd-data-shows), compared to more recent years the stop and frisk stops have increased exponentially, but the number of victims of gunfire have remained stagnant for the most part.3. It's really bad statistics for Bloomberg to think that he can predict how many lives have been saved because of stop and frisk. One of the few things that stuck in my head from my statistics classes at Cornell University is that correlation does not equal causation. Try saying "stop and frisk increased at the same time that gun violence decreased (but not really), so stop and frisk must be working!" That is a correlative statement. They could be related, but that does not mean that one caused the other to happen.
And a brand new petition from Color of Change (http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2012/07/colorofchange-org-tells-nyc-officials-time-to-unite-the-two-new-yorks/), which includes many more stats, and mentions that some of these stops include full-body searches and the NYPD demanding that victims hand over their valuables (sources are included at the link).
So, in short, the practice is racist and ineffective, but if you come to a different conclusion by actually looking up facts using resources that I'm sure you all have, I'd love to hear it. And I agree with Mrs. Wayman - bringing up the fact that most of NOLA's murderers are Black without mentioning that most of the murder victims are also Black is offensive, and I'll go even further - white murder victims are valued higher, which is why there are so many unsolved murders in any major city with a high Black or Brown populace. Why do I know the names of the white victims of murder from the past few years? It's not just because there are few - it's because even though I don't even watch the news, I heard their names everywhere and the little resources that the NOPD apparently has were focused on those people and finding their killers as quickly as possible. Since I just spent the past hour and a half doing research to fight someone else's ignorance, you (anyone) tell me how many white victims of murder there were in 2011, and whether or not their killers were caught?
Anecdote: A friend of mine recently did grand jury duty. He eventually had his therapist write him a note to get out of it because he was becoming depressed seeing all of the indictments that his fellow jurors were handing down on cases that had very circumstantial evidence. There were a couple of cases, though, where there was an immense amount of evidence, down to crossed T's and dotted I's. The difference? Not in the race of the accused, but the race of the victim.
So I find it massively insulting that it can be insisted on a forum that is made up of a class of people who are actually valued and protected by the NOPD that the answer to the issue of crime that mainly affects a community of people who are devalued, alienated, and criminalized by the police department is to further alienate, degrade, and insult those people.
The Other Side + A Debate: