A friend recently sent me this image, a mock-up of an NYPD Police Athletic League poster:
While the poster is a fake, it is truthful in acknowledging facts not readily admitted by the NYPD and points to both the growing disfunction in the relationship between the department and community members and the continued head-in-the-sand mentality of Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Comissioner Ray Kelly who ignore community members on issues of policing and instead trumpet their own militaristic strategies, which come at an immense human cost.
This cost, obviously, is not spread evenly across the population of New York City, but instead borne chiefly by low-income communities and communities of color. The over-privileged among us thus profit from the social and political immunity that shields us from police terror, thanks only to the color of our skin and the perception of our economic net worth.
Recently State Senator Eric Adams, D-N.Y., himself a former NYPD sergeant, submitted an affidavit alleging that the entire point of stop and frisk was to target and scare young men of color.
According to Courthouse News, Adams's affidavit says:
Commissioner Kelly stated that the NYPD targets its stop-and-frisk activity at young black and Latino men because it wants to instill the belief in members of these two populations that they could be stopped and frisked every time they leave their homes so that they are less likely to carry weapons.
While Commissioner Ray Kelly denies saying this, the evidence backs up Adams's statement, and a recent Brooklyn Bureau report -- using the NYPD's own data -- provided a damning look into who officers stop and how frequently (almost always) their assumptions of criminal activity are proved to be incorrect.
In 2011 the NYPD essentially stopped every young Black man in New York City, and because officers can only legally make stops when they believe that a person is either in the middle of, or about to pursue, criminal activity, this statistic -- 168,126 stops of young Black men despite only 158,406 people fitting this demographic residing in New York City -- points to the NYPD's presumption of guilt of an entire class of people. Nevermind that the officers' suspicion of criminal activity is unfounded in almost 90 percent of the cases.
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 with open arms. It would not be surprising if it is a lonely summer for the PAL knock hockey team.