The recent arrest of Officer Michael Daragjati, an eight-year NYPD veteran, for the racially-motivated false arrest of a black Staten Island man (after which Daragjati was caught on tape saying he had "fried another n*****r") has proved to be the last straw for some city lawmakers.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer held a press conference Wednesday, along with New York State Senator Eric Adams, and Councilmember Juumane Williams (who himself may have been racially profiled by the NYPD recently), and called on the federal government to investigate the New York Police Department's unpopular "stop and frisk program," following the U.S. Justice Department’s filing of civil rights charges against Daragjati.
"I have never been stopped and frisked,'' Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said of the unpopular police tactic that leads to hundreds of thousands of blacks and Latinos being stopped by cops each year, according to The New York Daily News. "But I can no longer look mothers and grandmothers in the eye, knowing in the bottom of my heart that there is a two-tiered justice system."
The Police Department said it made 601,055 street stops of potential suspects in 2010 with about 10 percent of the stops resulting in arrests. In 2008, 80 percent of those stopped-and-frisked were black and latino.
Jesus Gonzalez, a Community Organizer with Make the Road New York, says he's been stopped over 20 times by police.
"It is alarming to know that young Black and Latinos are nine times more likely to get stopped and frisked by the NYPD," said Gonzalez. “It is an unofficial initiation for young men of color to be placed in cuffs at least once growing up in our communities. Stop and Frisk is ineffective and is in fact making our community less safe because, as a result the distrust is increasing between the community and police. It raises suspicion every time there is police interaction. Are they here to protect or are they just chasing numbers to meet a quota?"
NYPD chief spokesman Paul J. Browne, however, disagreed with city officials, noting that the "police stops save lives." Browne cited police statistics that suggested that it was the "minority community which benefited most from the 2,734 fewer murders in the first eight years of the Bloomberg administration compared to the prior eight."
In August, a Manhattan federal judge gave the greenlight to a lawsuit against the NYPD claiming the stop-and-frisk policy discriminates against minorities.