Probable Cause..Black, Latino and Young


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

Much has been written about New York City’s stop and frisk policies, but until now, the evidence of who the police were stopping and why was not a matter of public record.  A recent class action suit has opened the door to learning the true numbers involved as well as the accurate demographics of just who is getting stopped by the NYPD.  “New York police officers testifying before a federal court this week said that racist quotas imposed by ranking officers are behind the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, confirming years of accusations made by civil rights and community advocates that the department’s tactics disproportionately target minorities. 

The class action suit, Floyd v. City of New York, is taking on New York police commissioner Ray Kelly and mayor Michael Bloomberg—both long champions of the tactic— as well as the city itself, in an attempt to prove that the NYPD has “demonstrated a widespread and systemic pattern of unconstitutional stops,” the Guardian writes. According to department data, the NYPD has made roughly 5 million street stops in the past decade, the vast majority of those stopped being young African American or Latino men.  Nearly nine out of 10 of those stopped by police have walked away without a summons or arrest.”  Common Dreams

It seems that the police are handcuffed by their supervisors requirements and forced to stop certain demographic groups and to maintain a prescribed minimum number of those stops.  Is the NYPD breaking the law when they stop and frisk young Latino and Black men just because of who they are?  “By law, the NYPD is permitted to stop a person if they have reasonable suspicion to believe the person is about to commit a crime, is in the process of committing a crime, or have just finished committing a crime. The officer is allowed to frisk, or pat down, an individual “if they have reason to believe the person is an armed threat.” And they can then reach inside the clothing, or search the individual, “if they have encountered an object they have reason to believe is a weapon.”

According to critics, these defined parameters regularly go unmet and instead, the NYPD has instituted “a sense of second-class citizenship in minority communities in which individuals—particularly young men—are routinely subjected to illegal and degrading stops,” the Guardian writes.”  Common Dreams  

The NYPD officers testifying in the class action trial allege that their supervisors required quotas of stop and frisk actions and that there were adverse consequences if those officers did not meet the quotas.

“Officer Adhyl Polanco began his testimony Tuesday by saying “there’s a difference between” the department’s policies on paper and “what goes on out there”, on the city’s streets.  Polanco testified that in 2009, officers in his Bronx precinct were expected to issue 20 summons and make one arrest per month. If they did not they would risk denied vacation, being separated from longtime partners, undesirable assignments and other consequences.

Polcano claimed it was not uncommon for patrol officers who were not making quotas to be forced to “drive the sergeant” or “drive the supervisor”, which meant driving around with a senior officer who would find individuals for the patrol officer to arrest or issue a summons to, at times for infractions the junior officer did not observe.  “We were handcuffing kids for no reason,” Polanco said. Claiming he was increasingly disturbed by what he was witnessing in his precinct, Polcanco began secretly recording his roll call meetings. ” Guardian

Officer Polcano actually went a step further and secretly recorded conversations with his supervisors and those recordings are not pretty for civil libertarians. One of his fellow NYPD officers also recorded his conversations with his supervisor.  “Bronx police officer Pedro Serrano also secretly recorded comments made by supervisors at the same Bronx precinct. His recordings were also played for the court this week.

On a track played Thursday, Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack was heard telling Serrano he needed to stop “the right people, the right time, the right location”. When asked what he believed McCormack meant Serrano told the court: “he meant blacks and Hispanics.”  Later in the tape McCormack says:  ‘ “I have no problem telling you this … male blacks. And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem [to] tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21.” ‘  Guardian

Whether New York City is continuing these allegedly illegal stop and frisk policies in order to make money for the city or to prevent crime may be irrelevant.  If the testimony of these officers is to believed, NYPD is breaking the law on an immense scale.  How many of the 5 Million stops in the last decade were done without probable cause?  We may never know the exact number, but if the quotas and the demographics of who they are supposed to stop are accurate, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly are leading a massive, purposeful violation of the law.

The officers who bravely testified and secretly recorded the conversations with their supervisors have taken a huge personal risk.  They forwarded their complaints to Internal Affairs and their confidential claims were “leaked” to their supervisors.  The Village Voice

Will they lose their jobs and or their pensions because they saw a wrong and wanted to right it?  What impact do these allegedly illegal stop and frisk policies have on the Latino and African-American communities?  Would it be surprising to think that these stops could cause even more unrest in the communities that the NYPD claims they are trying to prevent?

Is the rule of law dead in New York City?  I can’t imagine what laws would have been broken if these young men of color had been stopped while drinking a Big Gulp!  What do you think?

80 thoughts on “Probable Cause..Black, Latino and Young

  1. Rafflaw, you wrote “How many of the 5 Million stops in the last decade were done without probable cause?”

    I think that the correct question is “How many of the 5 Million stops in the last decade were done without REASONABLE SUSPICION?”.

    The Supreme Court made up this standard in the 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio. Reasonable suspicion was supposed to based on “specific and articulable facts”. Presumably, these facts were not supposed to be “black male”.

    Thank you for the post. I hope that you continue to update this as the trial goes on.

  2. Good column.

    First time that I have seen more than anecdotal evidence.

    I read the WSJ regularly; they would have us believe that the greater good – public safety – outweighs the systematic violation of the Constitution. In other words, the harm suffered by a “few” is outweighed by the benefit enjoyed by many.

    Slippery slope to fascism.

  3. ” In other words, the harm suffered by a “few” is outweighed by the benefit enjoyed by many”

    Even if one agrees with the greater good argument, it would appear to be the greater good of the few outweighing the harm to the constitutional rights of many.

    Our quarrel is not with sworn officers performing according to their instructions. The problem lies with police management and politicians.

    This has to change.

  4. Very important Larry. Leaving politics out of the equation, for now, a persons position on NYC “Stop and Frisk” defines their support of our Constituion. Those who support the positions of Bloomberg & Kelly do not value freedom and see people of color as the enemy. Bloomberg’s bland demeanor is an expression of the banality of evil.

  5. Good piece rafflaw. Then there’s the issue of why is simple possession of cannabis a crime? Cops love easy collars, that’s one of many reasons, and that’s what they are looking easy collar.

  6. Thanks for covering this.

    Let’s hope they do not become the model for other cities.

    Let’s hope the courts stop this intrusion into liberty and failure of civil rights.

    Stop it now!

  7. Mike S.,
    Welcome back!
    Thanks. the war on drugs has always been a mistake and it causes more crime than it prevents. How many people are in jail just because of marijuana arrests? Sad.
    Thanks. I am sure ap will have some good contributions to the discussion.

  8. This is a fine article and a great example of what NOT to do when it comes to finding offenders. The racial quota in my book is sufficient for a summary judgment against the city.

    The Terry v. Ohio “frisk” is for only one justifiable cause: Officer Safety. The three prongs for this are Reasonable Suspicion that a crime has, is, or is about to occur, the second is belief the person is armed AND third, the person represents a threat to the safety of the officer(s).

    It is unreasonable to frisk a person if any of these three prongs are not present.

    Often these types of frisks are used as pretexts to search the person further. It is the old “I saw a suspicious bulge in his coat pocket that looked like it MIGHT be a knife so I searched the pocket for a weapon.”

    There are times where three prongs are met and it does turn up lawfully seized contraband, such as when the officer having the three prongs met pulls out a handgun off a suspected robber and the bag of illegal drugs catches on the hammer of the gun and falls out. But this is really uncommon and almost a guarantee the officer will be called in to a suppression hearing (which is a headache) It’s best to generally avoid these types of issues all together but be safe when it comes to weapons.

    Singling out minorities is not only illegal it is flat out bad practice and unprofessional. Taking out the obviously immoral and illegal part of it, pragmatically it causes so many problems and it does not result in better arrests. Frankly, it is purely a waste of time to just pick someone out of the blue, who “looks like the wrong type” and try to drum up something when they could instead be actually looking more pro-actively for actual violators, serving arrest warrants, attempting to locate suspects in crimes, handling calls, anything is better than pulling over random people based on appearance alone. The crooks are out there, all they have to do is look for them and leave the regular people alone.

    I have to give credit to the officers who testified against their departments. That took courage and fortitude given the checkered history NYPD has with corruption and retaliation. In some departments officers are socialized there from the time they are rookies to tow the line. When they are on probation especially in their first year they can be fired for the most BS of reasons, and supervisors in some incidences with these problem departments use this against them. Then once they are through probation and a year or two later they get brought in to the Dark Side of the Brotherhood, that is if one exists at that department. Where there is pressure to keep the status quo and protect their fellow officers, some become willing participants due to the mutual support. The vast majority of LEAs don’t have this problem but it is frequently present in the ones that do.

    As for quotas. That is just lazy, or oppressive management. A good manager can see the effort of their officers and know who is working and who is not.

  9. Liu: Forget about NYPD inspector general, just abolish ‘stop and frisk’

    by Sal Gentile

    03/24/2013 (with video, UP w/Chris Hayes)


    John Liu, the New York City comptroller and one of the Democratic candidates vying to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said Sunday that he was opposed to a plan proposed by some of his rivals this week to establish an inspector general to oversee the New York Police Department, which has come under fire for its use of the controversial policing tactic known as “stop and frisk.”

    City lawmakers reached a tentative deal on Tuesday to pass a bill that would establish an inspector general to oversee the NYPD. The proposal came as a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD was unfolding in dramatic fashion in federal court in Manhattan, with witnesses who had themselves been stopped and frisked breaking down on the stand, whistleblower cops testifying against the NYPD, and even secretly recorded conversations with commanding officers who seemed to suggest that there were quotas for issuing summonses, and that skin color could be used as a factor in deciding who to stop.

    City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, widely seen as the front-runner in the mayoral race, supports the legislation, as do two of her opponents, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former comptroller Bill Thompson. Liu said not only that he opposed the establishment of an inspector general, but that as mayor he would personally direct the police commissioner to abolish the practice of “stop and frisk” altogether.

    “I supported, last year, when the council members proposed what was called a ‘Community Safety Act,’ which was a package of four bills, one of which included this inspector general thing. But really, the more you think about it, the less sense an inspector general actually makes,” Liu said. “It’s not like the mayor doesn’t talk with the police commissioner. At the end of the day if I’m mayor, I’m going to be directing the police commissioner not to undertake tactics that I think are undemocratic and un-American.”


    “Forget about NYPD inspector general, just abolish ‘stop and frisk’” -Liu

    Yes, abolish “stop and frisk”, but the department needs oversight, as well…

  10. “Stop and Frisk Watch App”

    “Stop and Frisk Watch” is a free and innovative smart phone application that empowers New Yorkers to monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.

    The app is available in English on both Android and iPhone devices and Spanish in the Android version, thanks to a translation by Make the Road New York. Stop and Frisk Watch allows bystanders to fully document stop-and-frisk encounters and alert community members when a street stop is in progress.

    It has three primary functions:

    RECORD: This allows the user to film an incident with audio by simply pushing a trigger on the phone’s frame. Shaking the phone stops the filming. When filming stops, the user immediately receives a brief survey allowing them to provide details about the incident. The video and survey will go to the NYCLU, which will use the information to shed light on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and hold the Department accountable for its actions.
    LISTEN: This function alerts the user when people in their vicinity are being stopped by the police. When other app users in the area trigger Stop and Frisk Watch, the user receives a message reporting where the police stop is happening. This feature is especially useful for community groups who monitor police activity.
    REPORT: This prompts the survey, allowing users to report a police interaction they saw or experienced, even if they didn’t film it.

  11. This is our America:

    “Kaylan Pedine, a 29-year-old Tennessee native who lives in Greenpoint, said she was standing in front of a bar in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in July when she saw a passing police officer and said, “I wish they would stop stop-and-frisk.”

    “The cops overheard me, turned around, and came over to me and said ‘turn around,'” she told HuffPost. “I said, ‘are you serious?'”

    The officer, Craig Campion, apparently was: Pedine was arrested, taken to a precinct and charged with blocking a bus lane. She said she never raised her voice and was never in the street. The charge, which she said was “100 percent a fabrication,” was later dismissed.”

    From the following:

    Kaylan Pedine Allegedly Arrested By NYPD Officer For Criticizing Stop-And-Frisk

    by Matt Sledge

    Posted: 03/14/2013

    NEW YORK — A New York City woman filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that she was arrested for criticizing the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy. The suit comes just as lawyers prepare to put the department policy on trial in a separate federal court case that starts Monday.

    Kaylan Pedine, a 29-year-old Tennessee native who lives in Greenpoint, said she was standing in front of a bar in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in July when she saw a passing police officer and said, “I wish they would stop stop-and-frisk.”

    “The cops overheard me, turned around, and came over to me and said ‘turn around,'” she told HuffPost. “I said, ‘are you serious?'”

    The officer, Craig Campion, apparently was: Pedine was arrested, taken to a precinct and charged with blocking a bus lane. She said she never raised her voice and was never in the street. The charge, which she said was “100 percent a fabrication,” was later dismissed.

    The department’s controversial practice allows officers to stop-question-and-frisk people, but only if they have reason to suspect criminal behavior. The NYPD stopped 533,042 people in 2012.

    Pedine, who works at a social justice non-profit, was incensed. She’s pressing her lawsuit, she said, as “an opportunity to spread awareness about stop-and-frisk policy, and to have real, genuine conversations about the consequences.”

    “I recognize that this happens constantly, constantly, so I just felt like I wanted to be a voice,” she said. Her lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    A New York City law department spokesperson told HuffPost in a statement, “we have received the papers and will review them thoroughly.” The city has 30 days to respond.

    Pedine’s lawyer, Mark Taylor, told HuffPost that the police officer’s actions should be placed in the larger context of the ongoing battle over stop and frisk. That erupted most recently during a City Council hearing on Monday, when City Councilmember Jumaane Williams criticized Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly for his support of the tactic.

    “If you look at Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s testimony in front of the City Council,” Taylor said, “the department is very defensive about the stop-and-frisk policy. And I think this is an instance where an officer is taking his lead from the commissioner.”

  12. Center for Consitutional Rights:

    Take Action Against The Abuse of Stop and Frisk

    The Community Safety Act is a landmark police reform legislative package pending in the New York City Council that currently consists of four bills aimed at ending discriminatory policing and bringing real accountability to the New York Police Department (NYPD). New Yorkers want to live in a safe city where police officers treat all residents equally and respectfully, and are not above the law. These bills have been introduced in the New York City Council and they are awaiting a legislative hearing and vote. Take Action… Go to

  13. Nick,

    We love to throw Al into the mix … it’s fun to read the rant and raves.

    BTW … excellent observation “Cops love easy collars,”

    I have a good friend who is a retired DEA agent. He worked all kinds of dangerous undercover cases in all parts of the country and he told me LEO’s in all departments everywhere are some of the laziest people on earth. Not believing him I asked several of my other buds (for some unknown reason I really do have a plethora of good LEO friends) and they all agreed and, especially if a bit inebriated, admitted to their own laziness.

  14. rafflaw, Thank you so much. This is a critical issue. But I wonder what will happen to those gutsy officers who are testifying. What nasty repercussions are likely to befall them.I hesitate to think how their “brotherhood” and higher-ups will respond.

  15. Hey Mike S,

    Good to see you back… How are you feeling….

    To the article timly raff…. Being stopped while minority….. Is bull….

    Thank goodness they can no longer use the dangly thing from the mirror….

  16. First they came for the pot dealers and I did not speak up because I was not a pot dealer. Next they came for the crack heads and I did not speak up because I did not know what a crack head was. Then they came for the soda jerks and there was no one left or right to speak up for me.

    Now if they would sit outside Wall Street and catch the thieves working the DOW then Bloomberg would be on target.
    But, he works the DOW. Reichstag Fire Decree 1933. Twin Towers on 9/11 (who cares the year). Certain parallels.
    Dont trust anyone over 30 or any politician who speaks turdy turd and a turd.
    Listen to BarkinDog on these points.

  17. mespo,

    All thanks (and I’ll second what you said) but the accolades go to Larry Rafferty as the bearer of bad tidings with this story. I’ve been otherwise occupied the last couple of days.

    Good job, raff. Timely, important and on point. Excellence is its own reward.

  18. Right you are, Gene. Apologies to raff for failing to give credit where due. I’m always confusing brilliant writers.

  19. mespo,

    Flattery is the sincerest form of imitation, er, flattery . . . or words to that effect.:mrgreen:

    Mike S.,

    Good to see a post from you, ol’ bean. I hope all is well.

  20. Hey, you in the limo double parked. Get out with your hands up. Oh, sorry Mayor, I thought you were Oscar Meyer the drug dealer.

  21. nick,

    To be perfectly honest … the macho LEO’s I hang out with do tend to call firemen “The Ladies” 😉

  22. Turn about is fair play. There needs to be a civil rights offensive. Call it the Bloomberg Target LLC for the organizational end. Sue every Law Enforcement Offender (state agent acting under color of state law) and their Superior (state agent acting under color of llaw), Chief of Police and Mayor (co-conspirators) and city of NY for each act of deprivation of civil rights i.e. false arrest, false detention, 4th Amendment, 14th Amendment violations, and for atty fees under 42 United States Code, sections 1983 and 1985 and 1988. Do not do it as a class action. Do individual cases for each offense by a Leo. Oppose any effort by the defense to consolidate cases. We need lawyers. Get off your divorce docket duffs and learn the ropes of jury trial in federal court in civil rights cases. Bloomberg has a deep pocket.

    Bloomberg will be singing the Waren Zevon song: Send lawyers , guns and money, Lord, get me out of this!

  23. Do not sue for declaratory and injunctive relief. Sue for money damages. It is what they will understand.

  24. “Stop and Frisk” is but one aspect of a much bigger problem. Much bigger.

    From the “Village Voice” piece, above:

    “I’m a police officer and if I see something wrong, I have to say something. But I’m accusing someone of higher rank of telling me to do something that’s illegal.” -Bronx police officer Pedro Serrano

    “He testified yesterday that he filed a supposedly confidential complaint with Internal Affairs but his precinct commanders found out “almost immediately.”” -from the following article

    Serrano, 43, married with four children, remains on full duty, though one wonders what the department will do to him now that he has rebuked his bosses. He testified yesterday that he filed a supposedly confidential complaint with Internal Affairs but his precinct commanders found out “almost immediately.”

    The allegation is strikingly similar to claims made by Schoolcraft and Adhyl Polanco, who filed complaints with Internal Affairs over quota demands and retaliation in the 41st Precinct in Hunts Point.

    Serrano, an 8-year veteran, testified that he had no problems until McCormack was appointed commander. Suddenly Serrano found himself on the hot seat. At one point, Serrano says his bosses put cops on forced overtime, and ordered them to get five stops, issue five C summonses, and do five vertical patrols in one tour. He began receiving assignments usually reserved for rookie cops.

    And then, his evaluations got worse. He was called on the carpet for his “productivity” by a captain, who told him that 50 percent of his “grade” was based on his summons, arrest and stop and frisk numbers. He alleges that all of this was retaliation.

    “I said specifically that’s a quota and that’s illegal,” he says. But the captain replied that she could do that, based on an order at the end of 2011 by Police Commissioner Kelly.

    To Serrano, the order translated as “quota, quota, quota quota.”

    And so he started taping and then made his complaint with Internal Affairs. “I’m a police officer and if I see something wrong, I have to say something. But I’m accusing someone of higher rank of telling me to do something that’s illegal. They won’t believe me unless I have evidence.”

  25. Rule of law? It’s meaningless to many in power from where I’m sitting.


    The CIA officer cited by the inspector general for operating without sufficient supervision, Lawrence Sanchez, was the architect of spying programs that helped make the NYPD one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. The programs have drawn criticism from Muslims as well as New York and Washington lawmakers.

    On Thursday, Muslim activists urged Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to resign and invoked the legacy of the 1960s FBI program COINTELPRO, which spied on political and activist groups.

    “We the people find ourselves facing the specter of a 21st century COINTELPRO, once again in the name of safety and security,” said Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York.

    Sanchez, a CIA veteran who according to his biography spent 15 years overseas in the former Soviet Union, South Asia and the Middle East, was sent to New York to help with information sharing following the 9/11 attacks. While on the CIA payroll from 2002 to 2004, he also helped create and direct police intelligence programs. He then formally joined the NYPD while on a leave of absence from the CIA.

    The loosely defined assignment strained relations with the FBI and two consecutive CIA station chiefs in New York who complained that Sanchez’s presence undermined their authority. U.S. officials have acknowledged that the rules were murky but they attributed that to the desperate push for better intelligence after the attacks.

    Sanchez left the NYPD in 2010. Then, last July, the CIA sent one of its most senior clandestine operatives to work out of the NYPD. That’s the officer who now is leaving. While the internal investigation found problems with the oversight of Sanchez’s assignment, officials said the rules of the current arrangement were more clearly defined.

    Even now, however, confusion remains. article continues…

  26. The problems at NYPD “may be extensive”?

    There are at least two ways that the example of NYPD is cause for concern.

    In one sense, NYPD is an example of what is going on at other institutions, both those offering guidance to NYPD and those seeking to emulate NYPD.

    In the second sense, NYPD has carried out official activities far beyond its jurisdiction and far beyond the borders NY state. If we are to believe news reports, NYPD has carried out surveillance operations in neighboring states against Muslims.

    From the activities of NYPD, it is not clear what, if any, limitations NYPD might place on its jurisdiction or area of operation.

    It would seem that NYPD operates as a regional intelligence agency with little apparent supervision and essentially no accountability to the public.

    That ought to concern everyone.

  27. An old article… and it’s lengthy, but I’m posting…


    NYPD intelligence detectives go their own way

    By Jeff Stein

    Time was, 35 years ago, when the CIA had virtually no legislative oversight, no worries about congressional intelligence committees tracking its budgets or asking embarrassing questions.

    Today, members of the Senate and House intelligence committees say they still too often find themselves learning about questionable CIA practices from the media. Congress recently passed legislation to tighten up oversight.

    But there is still one important American intelligence organization over which neither they nor any other legislative body conducts meaningful oversight: the NYPD intelligence division’s International Liaison Program.

    With offices in 11 foreign capitals and an unpublished budget, the ILP’s far-flung counterterrorism cops operate outside the authority of top U.S. officials abroad, including the American ambassador and the CIA station chief, who is the nominal head of U.S. intelligence in foreign countries.

    Neither the Director of National Intelligence nor the Department of Homeland Security have any jurisdiction over the program. Nor have either done a study of how the NYPD’s foreign operations fit into U.S. counterterrorism programs — or don’t, officials say.

    The ILP is supported by private donors through the New York Police Foundation, which won’t say how much it has given the NYPD, beyond a sentence on its Web page that it sought to raise $1.5 million for the program in 2010. The NYPD itself won’t say whether any of its annual $178 million budget for intelligence and counterterrorism goes to posting detectives in Paris, London, Madrid or other posh capitals.

    Even the New York City Council member responsible for police oversight, Democrat Peter F. Vallone, Jr. admits he doesn’t know much about the ILP — starting with its full budget.

    Asked whether it was “fair to say” he had no idea of what the ILP was spending, he responded, “that’s fair. But my main concern is their use of taxpayer funds here in NYC.”

    Even if Vallone wanted to ride herd on the ILP, he said, his Public Safety Committee has only four staffers to monitor the entire, 34,500-strong police department.

    The NYPD asserts it can police itself.

    “The NYPD has an assistant commissioner who is responsible specifically for the supervision of overseas officers,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. “He does inspections overseas, and like other managers in the Intelligence Division reviews all spending or reimbursement, regardless of source, as does our budget personnel. And like any other officers, those overseas are subject to reviews and investigations of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau.”

    The foundation is not always transparent about its expenses. Last month it turned out that it had picked up Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s $12,000 tab at the New York Harvard Club for the past eight years and paid a public relations agency $400,000 to burnish his image.

    In effect, critics say, no one outside the NYPD or foundation has any idea whether its foreign liaison officers in, say, Paris, are washing down their snails with a very fine Lafite Rothschild, or, as one former NYPD counterterrorism official insists, downing Bud Lights with Le Big Mac.

    “There’s not any indication they’re eating snails, but when it comes to these kinds of agencies,” Vallone admits, “snails can be hidden in a lot of places.”

    “There appears to be no monitoring of the NYPD, a municipal agency that in its anti-terrorism measures, has become a mini-CIA,” maintains Leonard Levitt, a longtime former Newsday police reporter and author of “NYPD Confidential: Power and Corruption in the Country’s Greatest Police Force.”

    “There are no safeguards to ensure that the NYPD doesn’t break the law. So far as I know, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that the NYPD does not become a rogue organization,” said Levitt, who broke the story about Kelly’s Harvard Club dues on his blog.

    Thomas V. Fuentes, who headed the FBI’s Office of International Operations from 2004 until his retirement in November 2008, calls the ILP “a complete waste of money.”

    “But it looks great, looks really terrific,” he scoffs.

    Fuentes, echoing views commonly held by current and former FBI and CIA officials, ticks off the limitations of New York’s overseas police intelligence operatives.

    “They’re not a member of the country team, they don’t have the top secret clearances and equipment to receive or send classified information. The countries they’re in, they’re there on tourist passports. They live in hotels or apartments.” Their out-of-channels status makes them virtually useless to other intelligence or police agencies, both U.S. and foreign, Fuentes argues.

    If one of those agencies “wants to pass along sensitive or classified information that pertains to the safety of New York City, they can’t give it to one of these guys,” he said. “They don’t have the security clearances to receive classified material, they don’t have the storage facility to store it and they don’t have an NSA-approved communications method to send it. So the countries don’t give it to them.”

    Fuentes wonders why Kelly and his intelligence chief, former CIA official David Cohen, have deployed cops abroad at untold expense when the NYPD already has about 100 members embedded in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, who are authorized to share classified information with cleared officers in their department.

    “They have top secret clearances, they see everything, they see all the sensitive material that’s reported by the CIA or FBI or other sources that’s coming in to the U.S., especially New York,” he says of the JTTF members. “They already get that.”

    It hasn’t always been that way, as the 9/11 Commission found in abundance. And as the David Headley and Detroit underwear bomber case showed, the intelligence agencies still have problems sharing information.

    Cohen and Kelly have not been shy about their antipathy for the U.S. intelligence community in general and the FBI specifically, saying the former has demonstrated it can’t protect New York and accusing the latter of withholding valuable information.

    “Cohen, a veteran of the federal government, knew his plan [to station cops abroad] was certain to irritate the CIA, FBI, and the Department of State in one fell swoop,” John G. Comiskey, an NYPD lieutenant, wrote in a paper for the Naval Postgraduate School earlier this year. “Cohen wanted NYPD to establish its own unique intelligence enterprise that could contend with the IC, and particularly the FBI …”

    Retired FBI counterterrorism expert Dan Coleman, who had worked at Alec Station, the CIA’s Osama Bin Laden unit, got an earful on day one of his employment with the NYPD intelligence division.

    After listening to Cohen’s profanity-laced diatribe about the FBI, according to the New York Post, “Coleman pushed his chair away from the table, calmly stood up and announced he was resigning — before he technically ever started – and walked out.”

    Kelly credits his foreign cops with saving lives in New York.

    “Most anywhere there has been a major terrorist attack in the last four years there has been a senior officer from the NYPD at the scene assembling lessons learned for New York… “ Kelly says on the Police Foundation’s Web page.

    But that’s the problem, critics say, pointing to a half dozen reported incidents of NYPD officers barging into the scenes of terrorist attacks in London, Mumbai, Madrid, Singapore and Jakarta, virtually impersonating U.S. counterterrorism agents and leaving local security officials confused, or worse, fuming.

    The most egregious cases occurred in London.

    Following the 1994 arrest there of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, Kelly celebrated the participation of an undercover NYPD detective on the JTTF who worked the case and had his picture, along with his age, college education and Long Island upbringing sent to reporters — putting him at risk, some said.

    “In 24 years of the JTTF,” complained FBI New York spokesman Joseph Valiquette, “I can’t recall a JTTF investigator having his photo published in the midst of a prosecution.”

    The NYPD hogged the spotlight again there the next year, with more negative consequences, Fuentes says.

    Moments after the 2005 London subway bombings, “several New York police officers ran into the tunnel and showed their badges” as if they had official approval to participate in the investigation, Fuentes said.

    “And they didn’t. The cops went back out of the tunnel, called New York, and [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg and Kelly promptly held a press conference describing the carnage and what had gone on in the subway and how they’re going to protect our subway and populace and this kind of thing.”

    The British, famously secretive about their investigations, were furious, Fuentes said. “They were going to kick everybody out, including the FBI. The American ambassador is calling the FBI — ‘What’s the story? Who are these guys? Are they with you?’ ‘No, they’re independent.’”

    Scotland Yard, Special Branch and other British officials, albeit furious, Fuentes said, held their tongues, because “they didn’t want to create a diplomatic incident with Kelly and Bloomberg and New York City.”

    The FBI was reluctant to comment for the record about the NYPD’s foreign presence.

    Speaking on terms of anonymity, an official said the FBI “gets it. We understand New York’s desire to be proactive, to learn from the attacks and protect the city and its citizens. The question is how to best to do that.”

    Federal intelligence officials’ headaches may only have just begun.

    More big-city police, and not just New York’s, could be showing up at far-flung disaster sites in the future, under legislation that could find new life in the next Congress.

    A bill to create a Foreign Liaison Officers Against Terrorism program, or FLOAT, died in committee last year, but the likely next chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), is said to favor it.

    Meanwhile, NYPD spokesman Browne calls reports of friction with the FBI overblown.

    “Our relations, including David Cohen’s, with the FBI are excellent,” Browne says. “That kills those who wish it was otherwise.”

  28. bigfatmike wrote:

    “It would seem that NYPD operates as a regional intelligence agency with little apparent supervision and essentially no accountability to the public.

    That ought to concern everyone.”


    “The NYPD asserts it can police itself.” -from the Stein link

    Not given what I’m seeing. Not given what I know.

    “bigfatmike” is correct:

    What’s transpiring “ought to concern everyone.”

    And that’s an understatement, from where I’m sitting.

  29. Deputy Chief Michael Marino in Stop and Frisk Trial: ‘Do Your Job or Suffer the Consequences’

    By Graham Rayman Mon., Mar. 25 2013 at 2:40 PM


    When then-NYPD Capt. Michael Marino arrived as a commander in the tough section of Brooklyn known as East New York, he was appalled at what the 400 officers in the command considered to be work.

    “They were doing five [summonses] a month, which was just not enough to address the problem,” he testified, about the onset of his tenure in the 75th Precinct back in 2002. “It was almost malfeasance … The level of activity they were performing was so low that it was a detriment to the community, in one of the most crime ridden precincts in the city.”

    Now a deputy chief, one of the top ranking commanders in the whole department, Marino testified Friday in the landmark legal challenge to the city’s stop and frisk campaign. An interesting character in the NYPD landscape, the Flatbush native rose from street cop to the second-in-command in Brooklyn North via a bullish persona, a matching physique and a devotion to the tenets of the NYPD’s numbers-driven CompStat strategy.

    He is also the man who ordered police to forcibly commit Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft to a psych ward back in October, 2009, three weeks after Schoolcraft reported misconduct in Bed-Stuy’s 81st Precinct to police investigators.

    In this second week of the trial, taking place in federal court in Manhattan, there is no testimony until Wednesday, when state Sen. Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain and outspoken critic of some NYPD policies, will testify. He will be followed notably by the precinct commanders of the 43rd and 28th precincts and the commander of Patrol Borough Manhattan North.

  30. ap,
    Ok, they are extensive!!:)
    I want to echo ap’s comment above. You are spot on that this should concern everyone.

  31. NYC seems to act like it is a separate country from the US when it comes to policing and intelligence work. Stop and frisk, and the way its run and numbers of victims are reminiscent of a third world dictatorship, or (Godwin’s Law alert!!!!) Germany before the war. I doubt that Terry stops were meant to become an obvious tool of harassment which is what they have become.

    Where is the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Dept? If that many of any recognizable group of people are presumed to be armed or in commission of a crime and warrants a S&F then either that tool is being used to harass/oppress that group or the police have a collective mental illness. What if women or handicapped people were stopped at that level of scrutiny? On it’s face it would be a discriminatory act. The only reason it’s OK is because of race and racial attitudes. Equal protection for everybody but the untermenchen du jour? If the JD ever gets off its a** on this issue NYC is a good starting point but only a starting point.

  32. Bruce,
    are you suggesting that young black and latinos don’t have constitutional rights because of who they are or where they live?

  33. The only reason the gun laws work in N.Y. and the same gun laws don’t work in Chicago is because if it looks like a gangbanger and talks like a gangbanger it’s probably a gangbanger and not your grandmother

  34. THERE IS SOMETHING LEFT OUT concerning the stop and frisk.. which i have personal knowledge of. the stop and frisk also allows the cops to arrest people on false premises and when it comes to the young black and latino males.. its a adverse on them when they begin job hunting. even if the charges are dropped. the fact remains that they were arrested and of course potential employers become suspicious.. my personal knowledge comes from it happening to my son.. we were in the process of moving and my son and nephews were sitting on stoop waiting for me to bring back the van to load the rest of our things. when the so called super called the cops and told them they were trespassing. my son called me and as we were only moving down to the next block i was there in 2 secs. with our id’s my son was arrested anyway. because HE DARED TALK BACK TO THE COP… the cop called him a P*&^y and my son responded this coming from a axxhole. well now the cops wants to arrest him. so as i run up they are putting my son in the car. and when i asked why the cop said because of his mouth. so my nephew explained what was happening. and the cop responds he needs to learn some respect. i replied YOU’RE PISSED OFF BECAUSE ITS THE TRUTH. YOU ARE ACTING LIKE A AXXHOLE. MY SON IS A ADULT JUST AS YOU ARE AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS THE 1ST AMENDMENT. he tells me he’ll arrest me to. and i beg him to. i told him your in enough trouble arresting my son. please do the same for me. he huffed and puffed but refused to let my son go.. drummed up a trespassing , soliciting and disorderly conduct charge. and as it was the weekend. he stayed in until monday morning. where he was given a date to come back to court. went back and the charges were dropped but by then the damage was done.. a security job my son was interviewing for. gave him a date to come back for a 2nd interview then after the background check called and cancelled.

  35. I wonder who Blumberg thinks is going to vote for his party once he finishes radicalizing a generation?

  36. If the billions of dollars in DHS Preemption & Prevention grants over the past decade had been invested in rebuilding our inner-cities (jobs) and hiring officers (police presence) it bet the crime rates would have been cut in half! It starts with good schools and good jobs.

  37. Editorial

    Monitoring New York City’s Police


    Published: March 27, 2013

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and Commissioner Raymond Kelly are apoplectic about a bill pending in the City Council that would create the position of inspector general, an official with broad powers to review the policies of the nation’s largest police department. Given the department’s long history of episodic misconduct, the idea is one whose time has clearly come. The City Council should press ahead with the bill and be prepared to override a veto by the mayor.

    Mr. Kelly’s assertion that an inspector general might impinge on law enforcement — or somehow make the city less safe — is utter nonsense. It ignores the fact that inspectors general scrutinize other city departments as well as police departments in other cities and federal agencies like the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. Their job is not to run things but to recommend improvements. The assertion that oversight is unnecessary ignores not only history but also the present — the department’s increasingly problematic stop-and-frisk program. The program is the subject of three federal lawsuits. In Floyd v. the City of New York, plaintiffs argue that the department is stopping and frisking people on the basis of race rather than reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior.

    The argument that the department already has sufficient oversight is equally weak. The Civilian Complaint Review Board, established in 1993, deals mainly with individual accusations of misconduct, not with broad policy issues. The Commission to Combat Police Corruption also has a narrow brief.

    Ideally, the inspector general would have an independent office with its own budget and broad subpoena powers. But creating a free-standing office would require the City Council to amend the city charter through a ballot initiative, which the mayor could easily block. As the next best thing, members of the City Council have suggested installing the new inspector general in the existing Department of Investigation, whose commissioner has subpoena powers. Under this arrangement, the Police Department could not shrug and say no when it was asked to produce information about its various programs.

    Other changes are needed. A companion bill pending in the Council would outlaw discriminatory profiling by the police and allow victims to sue for injunctive relief.

    But a new inspector general would represent an important first step in restoring trust in law enforcement all over the city.


  38. Re: Anonymously posted

    Although most divisions of the U.S. Justice Department need fundamental reform, the divisions that specialize in police corruption are excellent – this is the “medicine” that is required to reform these practices and remove corrupt officers.

  39. NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly ‘wanted to instil fear’ in black and Latino men

    At stop-and-frisk trial, New York state senator and former police captain Eric Adams testifies about 2010 conversation with Kelly

    by Ryan Devereaux in New York
    Monday 1 April 2013 18.23 EDT


    The commissioner of the New York City police department views the controversial practice of stop, question and frisk as a means to instil fear in young African American and Latino men, a New York state senator testified in a federal court on Monday.

    State senator Eric Adams, who retired from the NYPD after rising to the rank of captain during a 22-year career, said commissioner Ray Kelly described his views on stop and frisk during a July 2010 meeting in the office of then-governor David Patterson.

    Adams had traveled to Albany for a meeting on 10 July 2010 with the governor to give his support for a bill that would prohibit the NYPD from maintaining a database that would include the personal information of individuals stopped by the police but released without a charge or summons. In discussing the bill, which ultimately passed, Adams said he raised the issue of police stops disproportionately targeting young African American and Latino men.

    “[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instil fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police,” Adams testified.

    “How else would we get rid of guns,” Adams said Kelly asked him.

    Adams told the court he was stunned by the commissioner’s claim and immediately expressed his concerns. “I was amazed,” Adams testified. “I told him that was illegal.”

    According to Adams, also at the meeting were a former New York City council member, Hakeem Jeffries, who is now a US congressman, and another New York state senator, Martin J Golden. Adams said he was “shocked” the commissioner would describe an effort to instill fear among African American and Latino youth in the company of three elected African American politicians – referring to himself, Jeffries and Golden.

    End of excerpt

  40. Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 07:45 AM EDT

    Suddenly, NYPD doesn’t love surveillance anymore

    Law enforcement agencies monitor our most basic acts. But try assigning them a watchdog and they resist with fury

    By David Sirota

    “The Big Brother theory of surveillance goes something like this: pervasive snooping and monitoring shouldn’t frighten innocent people, it should only make lawbreakers nervous because they are the only ones with something to hide. Those who subscribe to this theory additionally argue that the widespread awareness of such surveillance creates a permanent preemptive deterrent to such lawbreaking ever happening in the first place.

    I don’t personally agree that this logic is a convincing justification for the American Police State, and when I hear such arguments, I inevitably find myself confused by the contradiction of police-state proponents proposing to curtail freedom in order to protect it. But whether or not you subscribe to the police-state tautology, you have to admit there is more than a bit of hypocrisy at work when those who forward the Big Brother logic simultaneously insist such logic shouldn’t apply to them or the governmental agencies they oversee.

    This contradiction is now taking center stage in New York City, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly wage a scorched-earth campaign to prevent the public from being able to monitor its own police force. And in that crusade comes the frightening assumption about how the terms “safety” and “security” are now defined.

    To appreciate the rank hypocrisy of Bloomberg and Kelly opposing the creation of an independent police monitor, remember that they are two of the faces of the modern American Police State — and two of the biggest proponents of 24/7 monitoring of citizens.

    That is not an overstatement. Bloomberg and Kelly are the proud autocrats who brag of “hav(ing) my own army in the NYPD” and who used that army to spy on peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors. They are the unapologetic masterminds of a surveillance program aimed at Muslim students. They are the unrepentant overseers of the city’s so-called stop-and-frisk policy, which seems to presume guilt, clearly violates civil liberties and disproportionately targets minorities. They are the champions of a Minority Report-esque system to integrate all the city’s cameras for ubiquitous real-time surveillance. They are the happy proponents of intensifying a drug war, again disproportionately against people of color. And they are now floating the idea of using drones to surveil the Big Apple.

    As a justification for all of this, Bloomberg and Kelly typically cite New York’s declining crime rates as ends-justifies-the-means proof that their methods work. In this, they are extrapolating William Bratton’s old “broken windows” theory of crime, insinuating that because New Yorkers know they are under such intense and brutal police scrutiny, they are more prone to avoid breaking the law.

    Yet, in now opposing the creation of an independent monitor to surveil, analyze and assess lawbreaking by police and municipal agencies after a wave of complaints about alleged crimes, Bloomberg and Kelly are crying foul. Somehow, they argue that their own Big Brother theory about surveillance supposedly stopping current crime and deterring future crime should not apply to municipal officials themselves.

    This is where an Orwellian definition of “safety” comes in, for that’s at the heart of the Bloomberg/Kelly argument about oversight. Bloomberg insists that following other cities that have successfully created independent monitors “would be disastrous for public safety” in New York City. Likewise, the New York Daily News reports that “Kelly blasted the plan as a threat to public safety,” alleging that “another layer of so-called supervision or monitoring can ultimately make this city less safe.”

    If this pabulum sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve been hearing this tired cliché ad nauseam since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Whether pushed by proponents of the Patriot Act, supporters of warrantless wiretapping, or backers of other laws that reduce governmental accountability, the idea is that any oversight of the state’s security apparatus undermines that apparatus’ ability to keep us safe because such oversight supposedly causes dangerous second-guessing. In “24″ terms, the theory is that oversight will make Jack Bauer overthink or hesitate during a crisis that requires split-second decisions — and hence, security will be compromised.

    This, indeed, was precisely the argument of the spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police when in 2011 he articulated the Big Brother case against allowing citizens to even record police actions on their own property. Police officers, he said, “need to move quickly, in split seconds, without giving a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences for them might be.” He added that “anything that’s going to have a chilling effect on an officer moving — an apprehension that he’s being videotaped and may be made to look bad — could cost him or some citizen their life.”

    As I wrote during that controversy, nobody wants to stop police officers from doing their much-needed job. In fact, civil liberties organizations have been pushing for oversight to make sure police are doing all of their job — including protecting individuals’ civil liberties. With police brutality a persistent and intensifying problem, we should want more officers feeling “apprehension” about breaking civil liberties laws, we should hope more of them “give a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences” will be if they trample someone’s rights and we should crave an immediate “chilling effect” on such violations.

    But, then, that suggests terms like “safety” and “security” are apolitical, which they most certainly are not.

    As Bloomberg and Kelly imply, those terms don’t seem to apply to those being targeted by police actions, however unwarranted or violent those actions are. They don’t seem to apply to the thousands of people of color stopped, frisked, harassed and jailed, nor do they seem to apply to peaceful protesters. Evidently, the Big Brother theory posits that those populations are safety and security threats — and declares that those populations are not themselves entitled to safety and security from Big Brother itself.

    If that sounds right out of Orwell’s Eurasia, that’s because it is. But as Bloomberg and Kelly most recently prove, it is right out of 21st century America, too.”

  41. “Testimony, Recordings at Trial Reveal the Racial Biases and Arrest Quotas Behind NYPD’s Stop & Frisk”

    SECRET NYPD RECORDING: If you get too big of a crowd there, you know, they’re going to get out of control, and they’re going to think that they own the block. We own the block. They don’t own the block, alright? They might live there, but we own the block, alright? We own the streets here.

  42. ” typically cite New York’s declining crime rates as ends-justifies-the-means proof that their methods work.”

    There are some serious questions regarding how much if any effect the methods had on crime rates.

    Some data suggest the decline was general and not limited to areas and cities where the methods were implemented.

    There is at least the suggestion that citizens have allowed police-state methods to be introduced with little or no positive effect.

    There is an aphorism that those who surrender liberty to gain safety will gain neither.

    As for enhanced safety on the streets? Just ask a young brown skin man if he feels safer with NYPD on patrol.

  43. “NYPD veteran Officer Jose Tejada busted for posing as a cop to rob drug dealers”

    “Tejada, 45, is also accused of supplying NYPD uniforms, handcuffs and other police swag to his stickup crew so members could dress up as New York’s Finest in more than 100 robberies. Disgraced NYPD officer Emmanuel Tavarez was one of the 21 members of the ruthless gang.”

    By John Marzulli AND Shane Dixon Kavanaugh / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:28 AM


    Oversight, oversight, oversight.

  44. :”There is at least the suggestion that citizens have allowed police-state methods to be introduced with little or no positive effect.” -bigfatmike

    In response to your comment about a quote pulled from Sirota’s Salon piece, I agree with your remarks, but would add that the “police state methods” that have been adopted have had a decidedly negative effect, overall. This will become apparent over time, IMO.

    As you rightly suggested in an earlier comment, that many are being radicalized is a certainty.

  45. “NYPD lieutenant’s mysterious suicide comes after recent probe of crime report filings”

    “Lt. John Walton, 44, was found in his Bay Ridge apartment Easter night, apparently having shot himself through the mouth. The 23-year veteran of the NYPD worked in an administrative role overseeing clerical staff and the filing of reports.”

    “Walton worked at the 69th Precinct, where one month ago he moved from patrol to his new role as the administrative lieutenant, working closely with the precinct’s commanding officer, overseeing clerical staff and preparing reports.

    A recent anonymous tip sparked an investigation at the precinct by the NYPD’s Quality Assurance Division, sources said. QUAD, as it is known, investigates how police take and classify crime reports.”

  46. See, here’s why I don’t trust government.

    There are obvious problems like this in New York and you have the mayor carrying on about the size of your sodapop? HOW DAMN DARE HE and how DAMN dare he spend the city’s money on that crap!

    It’s criminal, what our government officials do with their time, with our money, with the public trust. Shame on them SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!

    If they can’t tell right from wrong, how can we ever expect a criminal defendant to be able to tell right from wrong?

  47. “Nicholas K. Peart, 23, has been stopped and frisked by New York City police officers at least five times.”

    Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?

    Published: December 17, 2011

    His words:

    “WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.

    One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, “Get on the ground!”

    I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground — with a gun pointed at me. I couldn’t see what was happening but I could feel a policeman’s hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet. Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. “Happy Birthday,” he said sarcastically. The officers questioned my cousin and friend, asked what they were doing in town, and then said goodnight and left us on the sidewalk.

    Less than two years later, in the spring of 2008, N.Y.P.D. officers stopped and frisked me, again. And for no apparent reason. This time I was leaving my grandmother’s home in Flatbush, Brooklyn; a squad car passed me as I walked down East 49th Street to the bus stop. The car backed up. Three officers jumped out. Not again. The officers ordered me to stand, hands against a garage door, fished my wallet out of my pocket and looked at my ID. Then they let me go.

    I was stopped again in September of 2010. This time I was just walking home from the gym. It was the same routine: I was stopped, frisked, searched, ID’d and let go.

    These experiences changed the way I felt about the police. After the third incident I worried when police cars drove by; I was afraid I would be stopped and searched or that something worse would happen. I dress better if I go downtown. I don’t hang out with friends outside my neighborhood in Harlem as much as I used to. Essentially, I incorporated into my daily life the sense that I might find myself up against a wall or on the ground with an officer’s gun at my head. For a black man in his 20s like me, it’s just a fact of life in New York.

    For young people in my neighborhood, getting stopped and frisked is a rite of passage. We expect the police to jump us at any moment. We know the rules: don’t run and don’t try to explain, because speaking up for yourself might get you arrested or worse. And we all feel the same way — degraded, harassed, violated and criminalized because we’re black or Latino. Have I been stopped more than the average young black person? I don’t know, but I look like a zillion other people on the street. And we’re all just trying to live our lives.

    As a teenager, I was quiet and kept to myself. I’m about to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and I have a stronger sense of myself after getting involved with the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a neighborhood organization in Harlem. We educate young people about their rights when they’re stopped by the police and how to stay safe in those interactions. I have talked to dozens of young people who have had experiences like mine. And I know firsthand how much it messes with you. Because of them, I’m doing what I can to help change things and am acting as a witness in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights to stop the police from racially profiling and harassing black and brown people in New York.

    It feels like an important thing to be part of a community of hundreds of thousands of people who are wrongfully stopped on their way to work, school, church or shopping, and are patted down or worse by the police though they carry no weapon; and searched for no reason other than the color of their skin. I hope police practices will change and that when I have children I won’t need to pass along my mother’s advice.”

  48. Where Were These Dems Asking about CIA-on-the-Hudson During Brennan’s Confirmation?

    Posted on April 4, 2013 by emptywheel


    Although Holder referred to the reports of the NYPD’s actions as “disturbing,” that’s not the view of everyone in the Obama administration. CIA Director John Brennan, formerly a top White House counterterrorism adviser, praised the NYPD’s surveillance program in April 2012. “I have full confidence that the NYPD is doing things consistent with the law, and it’s something that again has been responsible for keeping this city safe over the past decade,” Brennan said.

    Brennan is not just the former White House counterterrorism [and homeland security] czar, but he’s also the guy who, when CIA-on-the-Hudson was being set up in the days after 9/11, was in charge of logistics and personnel at the CIA. Which means there’s a pretty decent chance he had a role in dual-hatting the CIA guy who operated domestically to help NYPD spy on Americans.

    But Brennan’s role in finding a way to use CIA tactics domestically barely came up in his confirmation hearings. As I noted, he was asked whether he knew about the program (and acknowledged knowing about it), but he was not asked — at least not in any of the public materials — whether he had a role in setting it up.

    Sort of a key question for the guy now in charge of the entire CIA, whether he thinks the CIA should find loopholes to get around prohibitions on CIA working domestically, don’t you think?

    Serwer names several House Democrats — Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Judy Chu — who have been asking about this investigation. Obviously, they didn’t get a vote on Brennan’s nomination. But it seems the nomination period would have been a very good time to ask questions about how and why, at a time when Brennan played a key role in logistics and personnel at the agency, the government decided to set up this workaround. Asking at that time might have clarified why it is that the Administration seems uninterested in investigating this program.

    As it is, we’re now left with a guy who publicly applauded such work-arounds — and CIA involvement through cooperation in fusion centers — in charge of the entire CIA.

    End of excerpt

  49. Ryan Devereaux: Just How Important Is New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Trial?

    Nation in the News on April 5, 2013 – 1:05 PM ET (with video)

    “Of the NYPD’s 5 million stops-and-frisks over the last 3 years, more than three quarters have targeted black and Latino people—a reality attested to during the federal lawsuit Floyd v. City of New York, currently underway. “It’s important to remember that we’re talking about the largest police department in the country and how they deal with young men of color, on a regular basis, on a day-to-day basis,” says Nation contributor Ryan Devereaux. “You travel to different neighborhoods around New York City, and you hear the same sorts of stories over and over again.” Devereaux joins a panel on Democracy Now! to discuss the realities of stop-and-frisk and the evidence against its legality.” —James Cersonsky

  50. “No one knows how all of this testimony is impacting Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Sheindlin. She has told all of the lawyers involved that she doesn’t want this trial to go on for two months. She wants them to pick up the pace.” -from the Huffington Post link (Dominic Carter)

    Same judge as in the Operation Clean Halls case.


    “What comes from the Operation Clean Halls case is going to result in a major step toward dismantling the NYPD’s out of control stop and frisk practices,” she said.

    U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled this year that changes to the program must be made, but she reserved judgment on what those changes will be until the other stop and frisk cases are heard.

    The second pending case deals with stops in public housing. The third, which challenges the practice in general, goes to trial this month.

    Scheindlin said that police have systematically crossed the line when making trespass stops outside Clean Halls buildings.

    “For those of us who do not fear being stopped as we approach or leave our own homes or those of our friends and families,” she said, “it is difficult to believe that residents … live under such a threat.”

    I like this judge. Let’s hope that we see a little justice here. And then hand the NYPD an oversight process with teeth — give Kelly and Bloomberg the watchdog that they so richly deserve and have earned.

  51. An old New York Times article that some may find interesting:

    College Town in Uproar Over ‘Black List’ Search


    Published: September 27, 1992

    It is called “the black list” in headlines here.

    The list was drawn from a roster of all black and Hispanic males registered at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, following an attack on a 77-year-old woman in the early morning hours of Sept. 4. The only clue she gave the state police: she believed her attacker was a black man wielding a “stiletto-style” knife whose arms and hands she cut fending them off.

    The school supplied the list to the state police, who — along with the city police and campus security — used it to track down black and Hispanic students in their dormitories, at their jobs and in the shower. From each, the police demanded to know his whereabouts when the attack occurred; each had to show his arms and hands.

    “Any black man walking down the street, they would grab his hands,” said an outraged Edward I. (Bo) Whaley, an instructor and counselor in the school’s Educational Opportunity Program for disadvantaged students, clutching a visitor’s wrists. “The only probable cause they had was, ‘You’re black, you’re a suspect.’ ”

    Three weeks later, the incident continues to reverberate through this picturesque town of about 15,000 residents in the Catskill Mountains. It has prompted the suspension and demotion of the school vice president who released the list, and the resignation of the campus security chief. Black students and teachers are preparing a legal challenge to the release of the list, which was a violation of Federal law.

    The list jolted many minority students and faculty who had grown accustomed to years of racial slights, including an incident last year, in which two young black men suspected in a rape case were sent medical bills for DNA testing, although someone else was convicted. And while the larger community struggles with what Alan B. Donovan, the school president, described as “the most serious problem at the heart of society,” and the town plans to begin mandatory “sensitivity” training for its police officers, some blacks at Oneonta are reassessing their place at the university and in the town.

    “This particular situation has raised an awful lot of raw nerves, not to mention the civil rights that were violated,” David W. Brenner, Oneonta’s Mayor, said this week. “I don’t think it was intended that way, but it’s been a real wake-up call.”

    Michael Christian’s experience with the police was typical. Campus security and two state police officers showed up at the door of his dormitory room at 10 A.M., rousing him from sleep and saying they wanted to question him downtown. “That didn’t sound right,” said Mr. Christian, a freshman.

    The officers asked him where he was on the night of the attack and demanded to see his hands. And then they left.

    Like many of the minority students who had come to Oneonta from New York City, Mr. Christian’s arrival marked a triumph over the streets and schools that sometimes seemed to conspire to keep him from ever leaving the Bronx. His mother encouraged him to attend Oneonta because she wanted to get him away from the violence of the city. Seeking Help on Campus

    His roommate, Hopeton Gordon, a Jamaican student who graduated from Evander Childs High School with Mr. Christian, was questioned in front of other residents from their dormitory earlier that day.

    “They said they wanted to see my hands. And I said, ‘Why do you want to see my hands?’ And they said, ‘Why? Do you have something to hide?’ ” Mr. Gordon recalled.

    The incident humiliated him in front of his suite mates, he said, and in front of women students. “The girls were looking at me, like, ‘What did you do wrong?’ ” Mr. Gordon said. It also bruised his sense of what America stood for. “This isn’t supposed to happen here,” he said.

    So he and Michael Christian showed up at Mr. Whaley’s door, just beneath the sign that says “Loud and Boisterous Behavior Shall Be Kept to a Minimum,” to talk about the strange events of the weekend.

    More Stories Emerge

    Mr. Whaley, a kind of “Great Santini” to about 260 students he calls “my kids,” came here as a student himself in 1968 and stayed. He bellows, coaxes and befriends youngsters into making it through school, “doing for them what somebody should have done for me,” he said.

    Mr. Whaley says he could only have learned of the list through the freshmen.

    “The older ones, things like this have happened to them so much they have a thick scab over the humiliation, the embarrassment,” he said.

    That may be, but senior black students, teachers and administrators here describe a steady erosion of their civil rights over recent years and say this latest humiliation is but the darkest star across a bleak sky: while they are the first suspects when a crime is committed, leading black administrators say police are indifferent when they are the victims of crimes — at times even refusing to take complaints.

    An initial meeting with the two students, campus security officials and Mr. Whaley provided no real answers about what exactly had happened, so the school organized another meeting with senior officials.

    Mr. Whaley understood the administration hoped to keep the meeting small. So he approached some black men on the campus, asking if their hands had been examined. He started with the thought of inviting only those who had been questioned. Then he realized that the police had approached every black male had been examined, solely on the basis of his color.

    Painful Memories

    At the meeting, attended by 120 of the students, Mr. Whaley heard the state police say they would not have compiled a list of white students under the same circumstances, because, the police said, that would not have been practical. Oneonta has about 4,000 students, the large majority of them white. About 125 names were on the list given to police, which was drawn by the college’s computer from information the students filled out for registration.

    Mr. Whaley also heard Oneonta’s chief of police, who heads an all-white force, say he was only “following orders.”

    As he listened, Mr. Whaley remembered a black student who was being stalked by a white man with a shotgun, whose calls for help he said the police refused to answer.

    And he saw all all of the slights that his bluster and friendliness had until then overshadowed: how he had been followed by salespeople in the Oneonta stores who presumed he would shoplift; how women clutched their pocketbooks a little tighter when he joined the line at the grocery.

    “It’s all tied together,” Mr. Whaley concluded. And he wept. “I cried and cried, from Tuesday to Friday,” he said. “It got so bad that on Thursday the phone rang, and my six 6-year-old took the call. She looked over at me, and said, ‘He can’t come to the phone now. He’s crying.’ And she skipped on outside to play.” Admissions Officer Rethinks

    Sheryl Champen, an admissions coordinator who recruits heavily from the harsher corners of New York City, also examined whether she had chosen the right career.

    “I was devastated, ashamed of being an admissions coordinator. I felt, ‘Damn. I recruit these kids. Am I setting them up?” she said. “Thank God, none of the students had cut their hands working on something. That would have been enough to put them away.”

    Ms. Champen, who is black, was herself stopped by state police that Friday. They demanded she show identification before she could board a bus bound for New York City, she said, and she said three other black women, traveling with children, also had to show identification before the police would allow them on the bus.

    She believes that what happened in Oneonta that weekend was not an example of police shortchanging civil liberties in their eagerness to nab a criminal. “I know what it was,” she said, after recounting 13 years of incidents that began with sacks of garbage outside her dormitory when she was a freshman at the school. “It was a chance to humiliate ‘niggers.’ ”

    Amid the devastation, however, were hopeful signs. Black and white students did not divide up along racial lines — though they socialize little — but came together to oppose the administration’s action in two peaceful demonstrations.

    Mr. Whaley persuaded the students to tell their parents what had happened, not an easy matter, given the fears their parents had of trouble with the law. He said he would like the parents and teachers to take the lead in legally challenging the school. Releasing the list violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment.

    Leif Hartmark, the vice president who was sitting in for school President Donovan that weekend and authorized release of the list, has been suspended for a month without pay, and demoted from the number three job to director for finance and administration, a job that removes him from the line of temporary succession when the president is out.

    The school sent out 125 letters of apology to the black and Hispanic students whose names were given to police. John Edmondson, the school’s security chief, resigned.

    Mr. Donovan is now requiring the campus security office to report to the Office of Student Affairs and is convening a task force to establish formal rules for the schools relations with outside police agencies.

    Meanwhile, the police say they are continuing to look for the assailant.

    The incident has triggered a fresh look at Oneonta’s relations with the town’s minorities, with students considering boycotts of certain large stores notorious for harassing black customers.

    “For 75 years, we’ve had only four or five black families, and everybody knew who they were,” said Mayor Brenner. “That’s quite a different history from a community that’s cosmopolitan or urban.”

    “If black students are stopped more frequently than others, we want to know why,” he continued. “I want our people to learn how to discern one kind of person, one kind of behavior, from another.”

    Mayor Brenner decries the setback in progress toward integration that the list has signaled for the town of Oneonta. But for the blacks who have made their homes here, the changes they seek will be more drastic.

    “This whole community, this college, has got to be torn down and rebuilt, and, we hope, healed,” Mr. Whaley said. “But torn down.”

Comments are closed.