Monday, June 17, 2013
There are pundits who place the US Civil Rights era between the years 1955 and 1968. This placement suggests the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans and other hyphenated Americans was just a 13-year ordeal. Is this actually the case? Can national ancestors such as Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers rest easy, assured that their bloodshed brought franchise, fair deals and justice?
“Much has changed for the better since Mr. Evers’s brutal death 50 years ago—but there is also much we can still learn and put in use from the brave life he lived”, reflects St. Senator Eric Adams (D, WF) 20 SD. “Certainly, if he were alive today, he would be at the front lines against the abuse of Stop and Frisk…Yes, this City would do well to consider his courage and continue the fight against inequality and injustice that still exist today.”
The Senator speaks with authority regarding the flaws of the NYC Police Department’s procedure officially named Stop, Question and Frisk. Prior to gaining the NYS Senate seat, he was a NYPD Captain in central Brooklyn. He distinguished his police career by co-founding 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care with several other peace officers. Since taking his NYS Senate office in 2006, Adams has kept an eye on NYPD activity. A visit to his State Senate website reveals his dedicated attention to local police matters. There is a downloadable 23-slide presentation entitled Stop, Question and Frisk Procedure in the ‘Report’ section. This slide show gives the objectives of Stop, Question and Frisk; the procedure for carrying it out; and the four scenarios when a police officer can conduct Stop, Question and Frisk. Using 2009 Center for Constitutional Rights’ findings and statistics, the State Senator makes a strong case that the procedure “has unmerited focus on African-American and Latino youth; the required reporting is not being followed; and the negative impact it has on youths of color’s psyche and criminal record.” The slide show purports “Of the four scenarios when a police officer should execute the practice, the overwhelming scenario is to fulfill quotas or gather names for the NYPD database”.
It appears that Stop, Question and Frisk flies in the face of civil rights. When queried about the realities of Stop Question and Frisk the State Senator posits, “Protecting New Yorkers and protecting their civil rights do not have to be competing interests. We must give our law enforcement the tools they need to keep us safe. The abuse of Stop and Frisk is not useful in preventing crime. In fact, it sours communities against working with police and that means crucial information isn’t shared to stop violence before it can occur. The practice must be reformed to better meet the necessary standard of reasonable suspicion, to remove discrimination, and to ensure more criminals and fewer innocents are targeted for Stop and Frisk.” His study and assessment of Stop, Question and Frisk is comparable to Medgar Evers’s work and concerns. Evers was shot in his back the early morning of June 12, 1963.
Currently the front runner in the race for the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, Adams stands to win the election in September. Should he win he will not only be New York City’s first African American in the seat and but be the first police officer in several decades. How will he make his mark as the BP serving all of Brooklyn? Adam says, “This is a pivotal moment for Brooklyn. We have become very popular in recent years but that hasn’t meant a better quality of life for everyone. I want to turn our popularity into prosperity for all. The BP must have a unifying vision for the borough that brings all Brooklynites together to make Brooklyn the best it can be.”