Youth Day! Pack the Courts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2013

Contact: John Garcia, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, 212-739-7513; jgarcia@latinojustice.org

Youth United Against Discriminatory Policing will gather at Foley Square Monday to protest NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy

Youth from throughout the city will be joined by elected officials and other community leaders to call for end to discriminatory policing

New York, NY – Youth leaders from throughout the city will gather in Foley Square on Monday at 1pm to protest the NYPD’s discriminatory stop and frisk policy. Under the Bloomberg administration, the use of stop-and-frisk has increased by more than 600%. Nearly nine in ten of those stopped were neither arrested nor issued a summons, and nearly 90% of those stopped were Black or Latina/o.

“Our young people have had enough and they want to do something about it. They want their peers to know their rights, they want to make their stories heard and they are here to change the NYPD,” said Jazmin Chavez, Coordinator of Communications, New Media and the Youth Leadership Network at LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Our youth are not here to disrespect the NYPD, they are here to ask them to change their ways, work with the community and respect the rights of our youth.”

In the trial Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, several New Yorkers and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) challenge that the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk policy includes racial profiling and suspicion-less stop-and-frisks that violate the Constitution’s protections against racial discrimination and unreasonable searches and seizures.

"One of my Asian friends has not only been stopped once by the police in the train station, but twice. She has told me that because of these two occurrences, every time she takes the train now and she sees the officers stationed there, she feels uneasy and uncomfortable. Because we're stopped and frisked, we feel like criminals even though we know who we really are. The actions of a few should not be representative of a whole racial group. We stand in solidarity with all those who are affected by this practice." Betty Chen, 16, Youth Leader, CAAAV's Asian Youth in Action.

The precinct with the second highest number of stops in the city was Brooklyn 73rd in Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn with 25,167 – 98% of those stops were of Black or Latina/o New Yorkers.

“This has happened so much to me that I don’t believe anymore that police officers are here to keep me safe. I feel like cops are quicker to lock me up than to help me out.” Damont Dillard, Make the Road New York

The Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk practices were criticized and rejected as a violation of the basic civil rights of New Yorkers, particularly those of communities of color. “The youth in the community are upset but they want to collaborate and work with the NYPD to change these policies,” said Juan Cartagena. “They sense the tension and the fear in the community and I am glad to see all the youth coming together to work together and move forward collaboratively.”

New Yorkers were stopped by the NYPD over half a million times in 2012 and 5 million stops have been made throughout the Bloomberg administration. Most of those stopped were Black and Hispanic.

"My Skin Color is NOT a Crime is our message. Stereotypes are just that, stereotypes and the numbers tell you that mostly Black and Latinos are being stopped and frisked in NYC- they'd be lying if they tried to say that stereotype is not a part of it. You see a black boy with a hoodie and you connect trouble, delinquent, crime to that image. We need to get the story straight when a cop says this is why they stopped you for that same description over and over, it is wrong- skin color is not a crime, it is not probable cause and it is not reasonable suspicion. That is stereotyping, that is racism, period."- Emony Jones, 17 year old from Los Sures Williamsburg.

The Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk policy was rejected as effective at keeping New Yorkers safe, with the unchanging annual numbers of gun violence victims during Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly’s tenure contradicting their claims about it keeping New Yorkers safe.

"I have been part of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol since I was 17yrs. old. It is here that I first learned about the socio-political movements that empowered young black and brown people to raise their voice and stand for human dignity and respect. I am proud to watch a new generation stand unified and ready to take on discriminatory policies like stop & frisk. We will not stand idly by while this practice continues to be a rite of passage for so many of our young people and family members." Frank Antonio López, 28-year old community organizer at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol.

Despite the 600% increase in stop-and-frisk between 2002 and 2011, the number of gun violence victims in New York City has remained at nearly the same level of 1,800. The out-of-control use of stop-and-frisk under Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly has alienated communities, damaging their relationship with the NYPD and thus making communities less safe.

"Stop and frisk impacts young people from the Bronx by setting them up for failure. It's like metal detectors on the street. When a young person is harassed by police because of how they look, it makes them think this is how it's always going to be." Marione Clark, 15 year old from Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice.

Increasingly, studies show that “broken windows” policing and its tactics, like stop-and-frisk, are not responsible for the decrease in crime.

The beginning of today’s trial follows years of activism against discriminatory policing and recently increasing opposition to stop-and-frisk across demographic groups. A majority of New Yorkers is opposed to the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk policy and want change in a new mayoral administration.

While activism and opposition to discriminatory policing practices has occurred for decades, it has broadened significantly over the last year in opposition to the Bloomberg administration’s egregious policies, full-throated defense and failure to adequately address them.

Communities United for Police Reform filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the lawsuit and to advocate that individuals and communities most affected by these discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices be part of uncovering their full scope and developing solutions.

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