Archive - Aug 13, 2013

The Slowing Of The Stopping

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Memo to Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD: GO FRISK YOURSELVES.

So, for now, NYC's stop-and-frisk policy has been ruled unconstitutional. It only took ten years. TEN YEARS. Five million people had to be stopped and frisked before a judge could even temporarily stop the stopping and the frisking.

Let's remember that stop-and-frisk is literally what its name implies. In New York City, the police can, and will, and do, stop you on the street completely arbitrarily and search you. How has this been justified under the Fourth Amendment? Well, you see, a stop isn't technically an arrest, and a frisk is only a teeny tiny search, and who needs "probable cause" when you've got a cop's suspicion? Isn't that good enough?

Ten years, they got away with this. Ten years, during which they stopped and frisked more black people in New York City THAN THERE ARE IN NEW YORK CITY. And now it's sort of kind of lower court unconstitutional, and won't stop as such but might slow down a bit during the inevitable appeal.

How does this happen? The same way it always happens. You remember the sequester? You remember how the part of the sequester that fucked up air travel in DC got fixed and the part that made kids enter a fucking lottery for preschool didn't? Well, it's that.

The people affected by the air travel policy had the power to change the policy. The people affected by the preschool lottery didn't. And too few people with the power cared about the people without it.

Same with stop and frisk. And you can break it down any way you want. Race? Sure. It's policing, after all. Race is always a part of that. Money? That too. Culture? Sure. Neighborhoods? Yep. There are lots of ways cops decide who they're going to treat like criminals and who they're going to treat like citizens, and until you're a citizen who gets treated like a criminal, you're going to assume that all the other people the cops mess with are criminals. See also "People in Yemen" vs. "Militants".

And now little Mikey Bloomy and his thugs are angry. ANGRY. How dare a judge tell them the thing they're doing is unconstitutional. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We do not engage in racial profiling. It is prohibited by law, it is prohibited by our own regulations." - NYC Police Commisisoner Ray Kelly, who, upon stating flatly that nobody ever does anything that's prohibited by law, immediately disbanded the NYPD and fired all the cops, because robbery and murder and snorting cocaine are, like racial profiling, prohibited by law. And that means nobody's doing it.

"This is a very dangerous decision made by a judge that does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the Constitution as determined by the Supreme Court. I worry for my kids and I worry for your kids and I worry for you and I worry for me. Crime can come back at any time." - Bloomberg, before turning green and muscly and leaping through the roof of the police station to smash.

Notice the two things going on here. First, the omnipresent argument that only police understand policing, and therefore, only police can decide whether how they police is right or wrong. Bonus points for aiming that at a woman.

And second, the implication that this ruling, which doesn't even end stop-and-frisk, but just tries to modify it to cut down on the number of blatantly unjustified stops, will lead to the hordes of (black) criminals in droves who will (black) rape and (black) murder (white) you in your (white) sleep. And yes, crime is down in New York in the past decade. It's down everywhere in the past decade. Not everywhere is using draconian stop-and-frisk tactics. So maybe, just maybe, the NYPD are harassing a lot of poor and minority residents for no good reason.