Stop and Frisk, The Movie

New York City’s embrace of a policy that openly ignores constitutional rights in the name of a tiny bit of transitory safety, stop and frisk, has been a regular topic of discussion here.  But written words rarely capture the flavor of a wrong as well as a video.

This video by Ross Tuttle, via Radley Balko, needs to be seen by as many people as possible if there is to be an appreciation of just how wrong things can get when we trade off the appearance of safety for constitutional rights. 

The video is quite revealing, in some ways intentionally and in other ways not so much. Pay particular note to the police officers on the video, and their dissociation of responsibility for their conduct.  They know what they’re doing. They know it’s wrong. They’re ashamed of their conduct, but not so ashamed to not do it because that might mean they get a bad assignment or lose a promotion.  Just following orders, and certainly won’t refuse to abuse people if it means they will suffer any inconvenience. 

In the meantime, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Chief Ray Kelly calm the public below 96th Street by explaining how they are saving them from crime, the violent, marauding masses who would steal their money and rape their women.  And they shouldn’t have to endure any inconvenience either. 

Watch the video. Spread the video. This is what it looks like when we trade constitutional rights for the pretense of safety.

16 thoughts on “Stop and Frisk, The Movie

  1. pml

    This would be a whole lot more believable if there was video to go along with it so we could be sure this is not a made up tape.

  2. SHG

    Some people won’t believe anything that doesn’t comport with their preconceived notions. Sound can be edited. Even a video can be edited. Eyes misperceive. Or not.

  3. BL1Y

    What would happen if whenever someone was subject to a 250 they filed a complaint with their local police department?

    Not an internal affairs type of complaints, but come in and say “I was jumped last night by two guys who looked like cops.”

    The NYPD wants to play a numbers game, but they’re going to have a hard time explaining why their violent crime rate is up 2000%.

  4. BL1Y

    How exactly does an action for filing a false police report work?

    If you come in and say “Last night I was walking home and these two guys jumped out of their car, they pulled my arm behind my back, called me a mutt, threatened to break my arm and punch me in the face. I didn’t get a good look at their faces, but they were wearing dark blue pants and matching jackets.”

    How then does the false report action work? Everything you’ve said about the incident is true.

    The police will likely be shielded from criminal liability because they were working in their professional capacity. But, the fact that someone isn’t a crime, or that the alleged perp has a defense shouldn’t make you guilty of filing a false report.

  5. bacchys

    You’re right. It’s not a game. On the sidewalk there the police have all of the power and you have no rights. You might, perhaps, be able to assert those rights later, but the damage will have been done. “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”

    What’s more, at best you’ll get the police directly involved in a mild spot of trouble. Those truly responsible for this execrable policy- Kelly, Bloomberg, and other policy-makers- will continue to push it undeterred.

  6. SHG

    What a special question. Here’s how it works. You go into a precinct and tell them that story. When they figure out you’re talking about a couple of cops, they throw you against a wall, handcuff you tightly. You protest, and then they bang your head against a column until you start to cry for resisting arrest. They don’t appreciate a wise-ass kid trying to screw with them.

    They then put you in a holding cell for about 12 hours, where someone who also doesn’t like wise-ass kids take your jacket. Then you’re taken to central booking and put in a big holding cell, where some other kid who is far meaner than you tells you that you’re going to blow him. You start to cry again, and then shit your pants because you really aren’t made of arrest material.

    You eventually go before the arraignment judge, after your Legal Aid lawyer listens to your story and is pissed off with you for wasting his time with your attempt to out-smart the cops because you’re a wise-ass, when he’s got 50 other cases of people who didn’t beg to get arrested to deal with. The judge thinks you’re a moron for being a wise-ass, but releases you ROR when you refuse the one-time only ACD offer from the kid prosecutor, who thinks he’s doing you a favor because you’re a wise-ass.

    And after paying for a lawyer, you cop because you don’t want to spend another $10 grand that you don’t have for trial, which he tells you you’re going to lose anyway, or return to court another 27 times.

    And that’s how it works.

  7. BL1Y

    Ohhh, so what you’re saying is to find a whole bunch, maybe 20, or 30, or 50 other people who’ve been subjected to a stop and frisk recently (shouldn’t be that hard given how common they are), and you all show up at the precinct at the same time to file your complaints, and because you have a large group you get on the phone with NY1 before hand to make sure you have some media present to help keep the police thugs in line while you make your complaints.

    Also, slightly related in that it deals with government thuggery, think it’s worth driving 12 hours to go home for the holidays to avoid the TSA (flying would have a total time of about 4.5 hours including getting to and from the airport)?

  8. SHG

    Exactly! Because all of the people who have fought, protested, done stories (on real networks, not NY1) and risked their wellbeing to bring the wrongfulness of stop and frisk to light are inconsequential. But if you do it, it will change everything. Because you matter.

    As for the TSA, my son has an interesting approach. He asks for the full body scanner, and when they take his snap shot, he say aloud, “that’s right, on your best day you will never look this good or be able to satisfy a woman like I can.”  He takes after his mother’s side of the family.

  9. Alex Bunin

    Unfortunately, like pml, there are going to be folks who do not find this credible because the man wears a ball cap and a hoodie. The only way to get those people to pay attention is to show how expensive and wasteful this process is. Not only is there a one percent “success” rate, but these officers are (1) missing opportunities to address actual reported crime, and (2) alienating entire communities who would assist in reducing crime, instead of fearing and hating the police.

  10. SHG

    There will never be enough proof for some people. The best we can do is open the eyes of those willing to see.

  11. BL1Y

    Not sure where your comment is coming from. I’m not saying what I’m planning to do; I don’t even live in New York. I’m wondering what would actually have an affect in curbing this type of police abuse because all of the people who have fought, protested, done stories, and risked their wellbeing to bring the wrongfulness of stop and frisk to light have so bar been ineffective in stopping the program.

  12. SHG

    Implicit in your various comments is the notion that, despite the hundreds of thousand of people who have been targeted by stop and frisk, the tens of thousands who have taken action in an effort to put a stop to it, the multitudes who have sought to influence the government of New York City to stop it and have argued in court that it’s unconstitutional, you, off the cuff, will come up with not only an idea that none of these people have considered, but will finally be effective in shutting this down.

    I can’t imagine why all of us who have been attempting to end stop and frisk hadn’t thought of bringing it to your attention in the first place so that this blight on the Big Apple could be ended.  What were we thinking?

  13. Stephen Heath

    It should be noted that since RudyG carved out a deal with the USDOJ to have NYC be paid a bounty for each and every “drug arrest”, the NYPD has made on average over 50,000 pot possession arrests annually for almost two full decades. I don’tknow the going spiff today but it was at least $2K per ten years ago. (thus approximately $2mil per week). At that rate it’s pretty easy to corrupt both street dicks and upper brass alike.

    And of course let’s all concur that just because “this arrest ” was illegal doesn’t mean the skel wasn’t guilty of something else, right? (insert rueful smile)

    Thanks for helping to expand the coverage of this important storyline. Cheers from Clearwater Fl

  14. J.Alfred.Braun

    10/11/2012 9:26 PM Stephen Heath wrote:
    It should be noted that since RudyG carved out a deal with the USDOJ to have NYC be paid a bounty for each and every “drug arrest”

    You are going to offer Substantiation of this, correct ..??

  15. SHG

    Chances of someone who posted a comment more than a week before responding to you are (how do I say this?) slimmer than slim.  That said, it may be worth your while to click on his name (notice that it’s in blue, meaning that it’s a hyperlink?) and see where he links back to. It isn’t substantiation, but it might provide a hint.

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