In 1999, when many of us were protesting the killing of Amadou Diallo, the NYPD performed 80,000 stop-and-frisks. Last year they conducted almost 700,000. This year they are reportedly on pace to do 800,000.
Nearly 90 percent of those stopped and frisked by the NYPD have been people of color. Approximately 90 percent of those are so completely innocent they do not even receive a ticket. 99.9 percent do not have a gun -- Mayor Bloomberg's primary reason for the stop-and-frisk program.
Mayor Bloomberg's massive street-level racial profiling program is a civil and human rights catastrophe that both hurts our children and makes our communities less safe. Every year, hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers and visitors to the city are needlessly targeted for physical searches and public humiliation because of their skin color.
Most of the victims of this form of police abuse are young. Many are forever changed by being assaulted and degraded by the very people who have sworn to protect and serve them.
For years, many criminologists have warned that racial profiling ultimately undermines effective law enforcement. New York City's failure to lower violent crime as far as many other major cities suggests those criminologists have a point.
In the 10 years Mayor Bloomberg says New York City has lowered violent crime by 29 percent with this program, other cities have done far better without it. Over the past decade, violent crime is down 37 percent in Baltimore, 49 percent in Dallas and 56 percent in New Orleans. In Los Angeles violent crime is down by 59 percent in the same time period -- falling more than twice as far as it has in New York City.
Even if he is willing to tolerate his police abusing other people's children, the mayor and all of us should be concerned about why New York City lags so far behind so many other major cities in reducing violent crime. If those cities could lower violent crime rates without a massive racial profiling program like stop-and-frisk, New York City can too.
On Father's Day, June 17, the NAACP and a diverse group of civil rights activists, civil liberty advocates and outraged community members will march silently down the streets of New York City to protest stop-and-frisk policing. In the tradition of the NAACP's silent march in 1917 drawing attention to the race riots in Illinois, protesters will march in silent solidarity on Father's Day to let Mayor Bloomberg and the world know we will not tolerate his abusive and discriminatory stop-and-frisk program.
The "Silent March to End Stop-and-Frisk" will begin at 3 p.m. at 110th St and Fifth Ave. More information is available at www.silentmarchnyc.org.