Anticipating complaints from some of your regular letter writers, I am writing to celebrate Judge Shira Scheindlin’s decision to limit (though not abolish) the stop-and-frisk policies that target well over half a million fellow New Yorkers of color every year, 86 percent of them with no good reason. Scaling back this wasteful program will put our police to more effective work, or so we expect. The judge has named a federal monitor who will oversee the reforms.
I understand he is still upset about losing the fight to limit the size of soda cups in this city, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg is wrong to get so hysterical about this decision. The mayor over-reaches, as does Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and I believe their over-reaction in this matter indicates they are hiding other little projects in this age of massive NSA spying on all our emails, omni-present cameras with biometric capacity and massive cover-ups of illegal operations. It is not only all mosques and Muslim businesses under scrutiny, let’s not fool ourselves. And government policies, even if kept in check, are not likely to remain under control as new administrations come and go.
Good apples, and bad apples, our police officers are famous for covering up for each other. This is why the police must have accountability mechanisms, like the Inspector General that the city council is ready to vote on once more, over-riding the mayor’s veto. Yes, it’s important that this does not add too much to police paperwork. That can be done, and it will add to the trust community members feel.
Are we New Yorkers partners in problem solving, or problems to be solved? Let’s support smart policies and learn from past mistakes.
P Adem Carroll