There has been continuing controversy over the heavy use of stop and frisks in New York — 700,000 in just 2011 alone. Only 2 percent turned up contraband and minority groups have objected to what they claim is profiling and harassment. This video gives an insight into the type of abuse that can occur in such incidents. In this video, a teenager named Alvin is stopped by three officers on the grounds that he looks “suspicious.” The officers are caught calling him a “fuckin’ mutt” and threatening to break his arm and beat him. He is roughed up and repeatedly told to “shut the fuck up” when he tries to ask questions.
The teen is never given any reason for the stop or the abuse. His secret recording capturing a torrent of abuse. One of the officer responds to his questions with “You want me to smack you?” while another tells him that he is being stopped “For being a fucking mutt.” Alvin’s arm is held behind his back as the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”
There is no indication by the NYPD of any punishment for the officers, though it generally takes public pressure to force departments to act on such YouTube videos. It is yet another example of how important these videos have become to deterring police abuse despite the efforts by prosecutors like Anita Alvarez in Chicago to arrest citizens recording officers. For a prior column, click here. As discussed in prior columns and blogs, police across the country have been arresting citizens who film them — a clear abuse of their rights and an effort to prevent citizens from creating incriminating videotapes increasingly used against police. This trend has continued (here) despite court rulings in favor of citizens. Politicians have done little to reaffirm the rights of citizens in these cases and officers are rarely subject to discipline for such arrests.