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New York City Officials' Claims Of Racial Profiling Need Investigation

Two African American city officials say racial profiling by New York police led to their detention.

“The alleged civil rights violation i centers on the claims that NYPD police officers considered race in determining their actions and in how they treated the two individuals,” said David Perecman.

As reported by the New York Daily News, City Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten John Foy, director of community relations for the Public Advocate’s office were walking through a police “frozen zone” to get to a post parade event following the West Indian Day parade.

Apparently, police supervisors at two checkpoints gave them permission to enter the restricted zone, but officers at a third checkpoint refused to let them proceed even after the two men presented their identification.

Williams decided to call a police chief who could confirm his identity for the officers. As he was on the phone with the chief, a group of NYPD officers surrounded him, reported the New York Daily News.

A few minutes later, Williams said he found himself handcuffed and detained.

The New York Daily News article said amateur video captured Foy backing up as an officer moved toward him.

Allegedly, an officer then grabbed Foy in a headlock, kicked him in the back of the knees, tripping him to the ground, and handcuffed him.

As a result of their racial profiling experience, said the New York Daily News, Williams and Foy called for “changes in the way that young black and Latino men are treated in New York.” The men were joined at their news conference by other city officials, who all supported a re-evaluation of the New York Police Department’s “stop, question and frisk” policy.

The NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics have raised serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights for a number of years. Recent data released by the New York police department shows they have conducted 362,150 stops in the first six months of 2011, a 13.5 percent increase from the number of stop-and-frisks during the same period last year. The statistics also show that 84 percent of stop-and-frisks involved blacks and Hispanics. Nine out of 10 stops did not result in any ticket or arrest, according to WNYC News.

“Racial profiling by New York police officers, whether it is a matter of perception or reality, undermines the public trust needed for an effective public policing organization. For the law to work, police officers must be perceived as reliable providers of public safety. This means they must respect the civil liberties of all those they have sworn to protect and serve,” said Perecman.

Stop-and-frisk is the practice by which a police officer initiates a stop of an individual allegedly based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Racial profiling occurs when a police officer relies, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, or national origin in selecting which individuals to stop, question, arrest and/or search.

New York civil rights lawyers at The Perecman Firm agree that police officers need to concentrate on the behavior of individuals or on information that leads them to a particular individual who has been identified as being engaged in or having been engaged in criminal activity.

“Considering the subsequent liability for New York law enforcement agencies that encounter allegations of racial profiling, the logical conclusion should be that racial profiling has no place in law enforcement in New York,” civil rights lawyer Perecman said.

New York Police Chief Raymond Kelly has told reporters the confrontation is under investigation.

Racial profiling and other civil rights violations in New York require legal representation from experienced lawyers at Perecman Firm. Contact us today!


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