From CBS News:
“The most expansive plans in years to impose new oversight on the New York Police Department passed the City Council early Thursday, as lawmakers voted to create an outside watchdog and make it easier to bring racial profiling claims against the nation’s largest police force.
Both passed with enough votes to override expected vetoes, marking an inflection point in the public debate and power dynamics that have set the balance between prioritizing safety and protecting civil liberties here.”
The NYPD are complaining that this would hamper their ability to protect the streets from “criminal” elements. Through the use of “stop and frisk”, the police are able to stop “suspicious” people on the street and frisk them without necessarily having a concrete reason. The standard they use is called “reasonable suspicion”, which in effect means that they can stop and frisk pretty much anyone they want.
As my use of quotation marks shows, I’m skeptical of this program. Stop-and-frisk is a big invasion of personal space and from what I’ve heard it is not a very pleasant thing to be subjected to. And while in theory race is not supposed to be used to pick targets, nearly all of those who have been stopped and frisked are either black or hispanic.
Of course, this law doesn’t place any restrictions on stop and frisk whatsoever. It allows for greater oversight and makes it easier for those who have been racially profiled to seek action against the NYPD. To borrow a phrase from our friends in blue, you don’t have to worry if you have nothing to hide.