The New York Civil Liberties Union recently compiled the top 10 neighborhoods for NYPD stop-and-frisks. Unsurprisingly, the stops occurred more frequently in minority neighborhoods. After all, 87 percent of those stopped and frisked in 2011 were Black or Latino.
East New York finished first, Brownville the runner-up, Jackson Heights was third, the South Bronx fourth, and in fifth, Williamsburg.
The Daily News, likely finding it hard to believe that Williamsburg-- that land of rock n' roll day care and "Marrakesh-like outdoor artisanal markets,"-- made the top 5, went to the Brooklyn neighborhood to investigate.
Of the 17,566 stops by race in the neighborhood, the NYCLU found that whites in Williamsburg made up 10 percent of the reports in 2011. Citywide the number was nine percent.
“It’s not about race. It’s about class,” white goth guitarist Nate Morgan, 20, told The Daily News of recent encounters with cops in East Williamsburg. “I have a mohawk. They stereotype me.”
He told the Daily News of one such encounter:
The skinny 5-foot-9 musician, sporting green nail polish and a long leather trench coat, said officers grilled him one recent night because he was carrying an iced coffee.
“They were like, ‘Do you have alcohol in that?’ They stopped me and looked at my pupils,’ ” Morgan said. “People get stopped for the way that you look.”
Despite numerous lawsuits aimed at the practice of stop-and-frisk, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly continue to defend the practice, maintaining that it reduces crime across the city and keeps guns off the streets.
In February, City Councilman Jumaane Williams launched a legislative effort to reduce the number of NYPD stop-and-frisks, including a measure that would require police officers to hand out business cards after an interrogation.
A recent Quinnipiac poll showed 49 percent of New Yorkers disapproved of the NYPD's current use of stop-and-frisks, while 46 approved. Broken down by race, white voters approved 59 - 36 percent, while disapproval was 68 - 27 percent among black voters and 52 - 43 percent among Hispanic voters.
(For more on stop-and-frisks, check out this HuffPost debate between City Councilmen Jumaane Wiliams and Peter Vallone.)