The NYPD appears to assume that every young man in a specific neighborhood is a criminal, acts on that assumption with frequent shakedowns and then appears to be confounded when the community does not welcome them.
Unless you've been stopped yourself, or you live in city neighborhoods where hundreds of people get stopped each day, you don't know what it's like to live under these conditions. You don't know what it's like to walk around feeling constantly targeted.
In the interest of justice, New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance should drop the trumped-up charges against Jazz Hayden. He is an example of someone who has changed his life and dedicated it to serving his community.
While I welcome a kinder, friendlier and better trained police force, New York needs to look at the policies behind the problem. NYPD needs to examine how productivity goals may be contributing to the criminalization of a generation.
Taking DNA samples from people arrested, but not convicted of a crime, has the potential to make our already unfair justice system even less fair. Before we expand the preconviction DNA dragnet, we should think hard about what that means in a racially biased system.
Governor Cuomo wanted to decriminalize the public display of small amounts of marijuana as long as it's not being smoked. This sounds like a hair-splitting, minimalist change in the law, but it was extremely important.
Gay men of color, along with women and transgender people of color, are among the Black and Latina/os disproportionately subjected to over 685,000 stops and frisks by the NYPD last year. I know, because I am one of them.
This Sunday, on Father's Day, I will be marching with tens of thousands of other New Yorkers to call for reform of stop-and-frisk. We cannot accept a New York where people are subject to civil liberties violations based on the color of their skin.