New Yorkers are divided on the issue of NYPD stop-and-frisks. An effective tool in curbing crime and keeping guns off the streets? Or an invasion of civil liberties that disproportionately targets minorities?
A new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows 49 percent percent of New York voters disapproving of the practice, with 46 percent approving. Broken down by race, white voters approve 59 - 36 percent, while disapproval is 68 - 27 percent among black voters and 52 - 43 percent among Hispanic voters.
New York's finest stopped and interrogated people 684,330 times in 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal, a 14 percent increase over 2010. 92 percent of those stopped were males, and 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic, a glaring disparity considering blacks and Hispanics make up only 59 percent of the city's population.
Despite numerous lawsuits against the NYPD regarding stop and frisks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and City Councilman Peter Vallone have been steadfast in their defense of the program, maintaining that it keeps the city safe.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams however, has joined other local politicians in calling on the federal government to investigate the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisks. And in February, Williams launched a legislative effort aiming at more NYPD accountability, including a measure that would require cops to hand out business cards after an interrogation.
Below Councilman Williams argues against NYPD's current use of stop-and-frisks, while Councilman Vallone--who, it should be noted, is the Chair of the City Council's Public Safety Committee--defends it.
Join the debate below and see if Williams or Vallone can change your mind.