Mar 29 2013

The Nation: ‘We Were Handcuffing Kids For No Reason’: Stop-And-Frisk Goes On Trial

On Saturday, March 23, sixteen year-old Kimani Gray was buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, surrounded by family and friends. Gray had been killed two weeks earlier by a pair of plainclothes New York City police officers, who shot him seven times on an East Flatbush sidewalk. The officers claim the teenager pointed a gun at them, but witnesses, along with family and friends, vehemently dispute the NYPD’s narrative. In the days before Gray’s funeral, hundreds of residents filled the street to display their outrage. Dozens were arrested, some as young as thirteen. As mourners prepared to lower the teen’s metallic-blue casket into the ground, a young man in a black T-shirt featuring a picture of Gray broke from the crowd and sat in the grass next to a headstone. Resting his elbows on his knees, he lowered his head and began to cry.

The day before Gray was buried, civil rights attorneys in lower Manhattan wrapped up their first week of arguments in Floyd v. City of New York, a landmark class action lawsuit accusing the NYPD of violating the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of young men of color not unlike Kimani Gray. As with the protests following the death of Ramarley Graham in February of 2012— shot in his own home, unarmed, by a plainclothes officer in search of a gun—the anger in the streets was further fueled by deep-seated frustration with the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, which overwhelmingly targets young men of color—sometimes leading to brutal and even deadly force.

Roughly 4.4 million people have been stopped by the NYPD during the joint tenure of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to official government data. Nearly nine out of ten have been released without an arrest or summons. About 86 percent of those stopped have been black or Latino. In 2011, the NYPD’s 67th precinct, which patrols the neighborhood where Gray was shot, ranked 16th among other city precincts in overall stops. The 67th came in second, however, when it came to stops that failed to prove wrongdoing: nearly 94 percent of the encounters resulted in no charges.

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “The Nation: ‘We Were Handcuffing Kids For No Reason’: Stop-And-Frisk Goes On Trial”

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