New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has exclusively given AllHipHop the following editorial, where the progressive leader proclaims an end to Stop N Frisk. Read below.
I made a vow that we would end the stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targeted communities of color. It was a promise I made to the people of this city, and to my own children.
And on January 30, less than a month into our administration, we kept that promise. Standing on a basketball court at a rec center in Brownsville, Brooklyn, we turned the page on one of the most divisive problems facing our city.
Alongside our new police commissioner and our city’s top lawyer, I announced we had reached an agreement with the plaintiffs from the landmark lawsuit that found the overuse of stop-and-frisk to be unconstitutional. We announced the beginning of real stop-and-frisk reform.
And those same people wronged by our broken stop-and-frisk policy stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us to make clear this was a new day.
One of them, Nicholas Peart, was a young man who had been stopped and frisked five times by the time he was 23. The stops never led to any charges of wrongdoing, but that didn’t mean Nicholas walked away from them unscathed. As a boy, Nicholas admired the police. As a young man, he grew to fear and distrust them. And it was those repeated experiences—visited on him and his friends—that led him to take legal action against stop-and-frisk.
What we announced together is aimed precisely at changing the way police interact with young men like Nicholas. With new oversight and an inclusive reform process that gives the communities most affected by stop-and-frisk a voice in changing the broken policy, we are setting a new course for New York City that will ultimately make us all safer.
We have the best-trained, most dedicated police force in the world. They have driven crime down to record lows. And their safety is one of the reasons why we have taken this path of reform.
Our police cannot do their jobs without the help of the communities they protect. I have heard it from beat cops and precinct commanders—they want to build trust, so neighbors will confide in them where the real criminals are, where the guns are hidden, and where gangs are most active. That information is critical to preventing crime, but its flow has been undermined by years of excessive and unconstitutional stops by police that have disproportionately targeted young men of color—90 percent of whom were innocent of any crime whatsoever.
Our new police commissioner understands this. In Los Angeles, where he served most recently, Bill Bratton took a police department seemingly at war with communities of color and steadily—year by year—rebuilt trust and cooperation. And crime dropped dramatically in the process. Commissioner Bratton is focused on bringing police and community together in mutual respect. As he said in Brownsville, “We will not break the law to enforce the law.”
Our agreement with the plaintiffs in the Floyd v. City of New York lawsuit is going to fix the underlying problems that allowed stop-and-frisk to spiral out of control to nearly 700,000 people stopped just two years ago. We will have a monitor in place to ensure reform is delivered, and we will have communities at the table to guide those efforts.
January 30 was a great day for New York City and for millions of families. It was a great day for the activists who stood up in the face of injustice, and the people who marched on Father’s Day down Fifth Avenue in 2012 to protest the wrongs of an excessive stop-and-frisk policy. Now we begin the hard work of fulfilling this moment of progress, and delivering concrete reforms that will ensure every New Yorker’s constitutional rights are protected, and every community is kept safe at the same time. That change won’t happen overnight. But it will come both from the very top of the police department and from the grassroots of communities. That’s a powerful combination that can—and will—succeed.
It is time to mend the fabric of police-community relations, and start down a new path that lays the groundwork for real and lasting public safety.