With the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk practice seeing an alarming all-time high in 2011, Councilman Jumaane Williams is proposing serious changes to the policy, most notably requiring officers to provide their business cards to individuals that are stopped.
The proposal will also prohibit the NYPD from profiling on the base of age, sexual orientation, immigration status, and other potentially biased factors.
Williams explained the purpose of his three-part bill on Thursday, "There's a lot of inherent tension when a police officer stops someone. There's a lot of mistrust in the community. I think a lot of that can be eased by officers identifying themselves so people know what's happening."
The New York Daily News reports that the implementation of business cards has been a standard practice in Portland, Oregon for the last two years.
Civil liberty groups have long criticized the unpopular practice, which many believe unfairly targets blacks and latinos. In 2011 alone, 87 percent of the 684,330 patted down by the NYPD were either black or Latino. 92 percent were male.
Williams has been an outspoken critic of stop-and-frisk and even sent a letter to Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott asking to discuss a potential "Know Your Rights" training in schools in order to protect young people about how to manage a situation in which they are stopped by authorities.
Earlier this year, a disgraced NYPD officer pleaded guilty to falsely accusing a black man of resisting arrest while conducting the stop-and-frisk practice. Officials say Michael Daragjati wrongly arrested the man after Daragjati became angry after the man asked for his badge number.
Following the Daragjati's arrest, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer spoke out against the practice and said, "I have never been stopped and frisked. 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."
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