Stop and Frisk Policies Create Permanent Criminal Cases

Nathan Crites-Herren
The Paw Print
It took 41 shots for New York Police officers to realize that the man they had just brutally killed was unarmed.  Amadou Diallo was entering his home in Brooklyn, when police mistook his wallet for a gun and released a hail of gun fire his way.  Four police officers fired 41 times at close range, killing the 23-year-old Guinean immigrant.  That was on February 4, of 1999.
This savage killing by the NYPD was not the first to hit Black and Latino youth, yet the graphic and public nature of the incident shocked many and forever tainted the already damaged reputation of the NYPD.
Almost 13 years later, yet another murder occurred at the hands of the New York Police Department.  Ramarley Graham, a black youth living in New York is the newest victim of a corrupt and broken justice system.  The infamous “stop and frisk” policy adopted by the NYPD targets nearly 600,000 New Yorkers a year, with the majority of those being black and Latino youth; Graham just happened to be one of those 600,000 who was targeted on February 2, with fatal results.
According to surveillance video and eyewitness testimony, Graham was fleeing police after being surprised by three officers rushing him while he was walking to his home.  Police pursued Graham to his third floor apartment building where he lived with his grandmother, upon knocking the door in officers entered the home and opened fire on Graham who had no weapon on him.  Police claim that a weapon was on Graham’s person but have failed to produce one.
The critical issue which has been brewing beneath the surface of a 1960s post-civil rights era is the formation of institutionalized policies like “stop and frisk” which is a part of the larger war on drugs, that intentionally criminalizes people of color, labeling them complicit in a system which is not concerned with preventing crime.  Furthermore, despite rather overwhelming evidence of the inherent racism seen in not only NYPD drug prevention policies but police departments across the nation, strategies like “stop and frisk” continue to be implemented without impunity.
“To serve and protect,” so goes the ethos of the police, but protect whom?  The “service and protection” of Graham turned into “shoot first and ask questions later.” An innocent young man who happened to be black was murdered by police bullets, just the most recent in a long history of “service and protection” to the black and Latino community by racist and incompetent police departments who are guided by an even more incompetent and corrupt justice system.
It is safe to say that the idea of justice and securing basic rights in America comes with some definite qualifiers.  Being a white male in America definitely affords you some privilege to be treated by the police in a fair manner, but even this is not so certain.  Black and Latino youth are the targets; they have been for longer than most Americans would like to admit.
Comparing the statistics of who is in prison and who is stopped by police for drug related offenses, to who commits drug related offenses and what areas police patrol the most we see results that fly in the face of reason.  Overwhelmingly, police stop blacks and Latinos more than any other ethnic group, and they make up close to 90% of the prison population. However, statistics show that drug use and sales happen evenly throughout all racial demographics, while police patrol black and Latino neighborhoods ten times more often than white neighborhoods.
Essentially, what is unfolding in this country with the help of “stop and frisk,” is the complete privatization of the justice system, converting it into a system that creates a permanent criminal class of black and Latino youth. Wanting a constant supply of warm bodied for the ever growing prison industrial complex, which has created chasm sized rifts in communities of color for decades, policies like these will continue to be implemented unless the people resist. Welcome to the real America. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet