Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Ray Kelly

Today I read your opinion piece in the NY Daily news in which you opined as to the effectiveness and supposed legality of the Stop and Frisk program used by your department. Your piece made it clear that you clearly do not understand the legal framework under which your department works, and which the city and state of NY are obligated to adhere to. Since you are clearly not getting proper advice from your advisors I offer this in hopes that you will understand why you are wrong and why eventually your position will cost you, the city and possibly the state of New York, and ultimately the taxpayers a lot of money.

In your "treatise" found in the NY Daily News you stated the following:

The statistics reinforce what crime numbers have shown for decades: that blacks in this city were disproportionately the victims of violent crime, followed by Hispanics. Their assailants were disproportionally black and Hispanic too. Last year, blacks and Hispanics represented 96% of shooting victims and 90% of murder victims. Did the New York Civil Liberties Union and certain City Council members protest or demand something be done to reduce black-on-black violence? Not at all. Instead, they have directed their animus toward the Police Department, condemning the very tactics that have saved more than 5,600 lives in New York’s poorest neighborhoods in the last decade.
While the average person would take these words as evidence that there is nothing wrong with "Stop and Frisk", I sir do not. While your point pin regards to the criminal activity of blacks in New York is correct, you failed to address the actual issue at hand, which is whether "Stop and Frisk", as currently practiced by your department has actually lead to safer streets, or that it is legal. Perhaps it is because you do not wish for the readership to look at the rest of the statistics available on the subject. Here we find that since 2002 between 82 and 90 percent of the persons stopped by the NYPD had not committed a crime, were not about to commit a crime; nor did they have any weapons on their person.

If I were a basketball player and missed my shot 90% of the time no one in their right mind would allow me near their professional team. But we are to believe that by stopping between 80,000 and 500,000 innocent people per year has somehow actually lead to the decreases in crime is laughable. Why? Because "innocent people" do not, by definition, commit crimes. Yes, I know that concept is hard to wrap your head around. Take a few minutes before moving on.

Next I'm going to address your scurrilous claim that black leadership (aside from your apparent new love Al Sharpton) have not been advocating against black on black crime.

First and foremost, Your Hip Hop infiltration squad knows that since before the crack epidemic Hip Hop artists were at the head of those calling for peace. We had the Stop the Violence movement as well as the huge hit single "Self Destruction" which directly spoke to the people in regards to the consequences of violence. Hip Hop pioneers, in fact incorporated break dancing and rap battles as a means to decrease violence by giving youth a place to express themselves and compete when school systems were underfunded and in poor shape and unemployment was high. So we can start there. And that is just the Hip Hop artists. So on that front your entire claim that "we" have not been addressing violence in our communities is simply unfounded.

Secondly, since we know that employment opportunities for jobs with living wages and decent school systems are known means of reducing crime in any neighborhood, every time you see anyone discussing the need to invest in schools or to fund job programs, you are seeing a call to end black on black crime. I know these kinds of things are hard for you to put together but please try to follow. When we ask for our tax dollars to be spent in our communities for summer jobs programs, day care for parents, and the like, we are not only protesting "black on black" crime, we are offering actual working solutions. We know full well that although marching and other public displays have their place (which often go ignored by the media) we know that "shows" of displeasure pale in comparison to actual money and programs on the ground.

With that covered, let me point out that your own policy of "Stop and Frisk" is also contributing to "black on black" crime. The website Alternet posted a report back in June of 2011 where we find that due to your "Stop and Frisk" program. Black men are getting police records over possession of marijuana :

The vast majority of arrests in New York City are for low-level offenses, such as misdemeanors like possessing a small amount of marijuana or violations like selling umbrellas or flowers on the street without a license. Last year, for example, the city’s police made over 370,000 arrests. Most of these arrests occurred in New York’s low-income communities of color -- for example, although the majority of people who use marijuana are white, 86 percent of the individuals arrested for marijuana possession last year were black or Latino.
Let me stop here for a moment Mr. Kelly. How is it possible that your department manages to stop and frisk so many black people and yet it is white New Yorkers who are most likely to be walking around with contraband on them? Clearly by the data presented, most of the black people your department stop have committed no crime and have no contraband on them, and of the remaining 20% of the people stopped, the vast majority only have a joint? Really Mr. Kelly? This is what constitutes proper use of taxpayer money? But let us continue:
Many individuals subjected to aggressive arrest-driven police practices and subsequently charged with marijuana possession are coming forward with testimony that their arresting officers engaged in illegal search and seizure methods. According to these accounts heard over and over from people in different communities and who do not know each other, police often stop individuals, usually young black or brown men, for no apparent reason -- the persons involved are not engaged in what could be considered furtive or suspicious activity; they may have been walking to or from their school or workplace or been on a personal errand.... In another clear violation of their rights, the police conduct an aggressive search without asking permission and without any evident indication that the persons detained are carrying a weapon or contraband. The police reach into people’s pockets and crotch areas and/or tell them to remove their shoes. The police then confiscate the hidden marijuana and later claim to the court that the substance was open to public view,
So not only do your officers blatantly disregard the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of these individuals they are routinely committing perjury. Is it the policy of the NYPD to have officers commit perjury? Are you aware that such behavior endangers the successful prosecution of actual criminals? Are you aware that such actions lead to juries who do not believe the testimony of your officers and the district attorneys who depend on such testimony for trial? Does it not bother you or the Mayor or the Governor that your officers are undermining the very system you claim to believe in?

Continuing:

Criminal justice contact can also limit an individual’s job prospects, especially in New York where over 100 professions, ranging from barber to attorney, require licenses obtained from state authorities. Studies have shown that arrests alone can be an obstacle or even a bar to employment. New York City’s school system, for instance, mandates that an employee report any arrest, even for a violation, and will frequently suspend or reassign a teacher while a case is pending. Even where arrests do not legally or technically prohibit employment, employers will always prefer job candidates who have had no contact with the criminal justice system. The damage done in depriving people of jobs extends, of course, to the families who will suffer undue hardship when their breadwinners cannot find gainful employment
So not only is "Stop And Frisk" a violation of the constitutional rights of those being stopped, but the illegal searches and perjury committed by your officers lead to arrest records. It is well known that black males with arrest records are less likely to find employment than even white males with actual felony convictions. So not only have the actions of the NYPD violated the rights of citizens but due to illegal searches and perjury your officer's actions have decreased the employability of countless young men who may be more tempted to say "fuck it" and commit a major crime. That doesn't excuse the decision, but why are tax payer's dollars going to activities that would decrease the ability of a citizen to be productive?

Lastly, allow me to re-aquaint you with the US Constitution, which you failed to mention once which is binding on the state of New York and well as the city and all of it's agents. The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In case your seeing this for the first time in years allow me to highlight the relevant portions as it relates to "Stop and Frisk": The people (that would be the people your department is supposed to be protecting and serving) SHALL NOT search or seize anything or any person unless there is probable cause. I know this seems quaint and old fashioned but it is the law of the land. If you do not have a warrant or probable cause there can be no search. Walking down the street, even a street where crimes have occurred is not "probable cause". Tossing a person's clothes to find a thing is not permissible. Your officers know this. That is why they lie in court. The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution reads:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I suppose this amendment was written for people like you, who apparently do not understand that black folks are in fact citizens of the US and are to be afforded all the benefits and protections of all the other citizens of this country. So to be clear, neither the city or the state of New York can pass a law or program or whatever else that abridges the rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

So let us review:
1) between 82 and 90% of the persons stopped by NYPD were innocent. They were not committing a crime, had not committed a crime and were not engaged in any behavior other than walking to and from wherever they had a right to go to or from perhaps with other people.

2) Of the remaining 20% of the people stopped, 86 percent of them were arrested or fined for having marijuana. And most of that was found after an illegal search (after the illegal stop). Your officers then willingly committed perjury in order to give these persons arrest records which would have a negative impact on their education and employment opportunities, therefore increasing the likelihood that those persons would commit "major" crimes. Smart.

3) The remaining 5% or so, actually had contraband or something warranting an arrest. And you as a professional cannot figure out a means of getting to these persons without blatant and gross violations of the constitutional rights of the massive number of people stopped.

Hopefully you understand how ridiculous your prop piece for your illegal program is. Hopefully the NY Taxpayer will not have to suffer paying out for your obstinate nature and blatant disregard of the rights of the citizenry that your officers have violated.