The NYPD will appeal last week’s federal ruling that the practice known as “stop-and-frisk” violates the constitution, Ray Kelly, the department’s commissioner, said Sunday on Meet the Press.
Kelly, who is on the short list to head the Department of Homeland Security following Janet Napolitano’s exit, said the practice—where police officers conduct warrantless stops and pat-downs of people they deem suspicious—has reduced crime in New York City and saved countless lives.
“No question about it, violent crime will go up,” Kelly said would happen if the law is repealed. “This happens throughout America, you have to do it. Officers have to have the right of inquiry if they see suspicious behavior. This case has to be appealed because it will be taken as a template and have significant impact throughout America.”
Kelly said that communities of color experience a disproportionate of impact from stop-and-frisk because more violence happens in minority communities, and added that there were 7,363 fewer murders in the city in the 11 years the policy has been in place than in the previous 11 years when it didn’t exist.
The ruling from Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin did not order an end to the practice altogether, rather it called for an independent monitor to oversee the program, NBC News reported.
Activists have long fought against “stop-and-frisk, arguing that 90% of those stopped by police are young black, and Hispanic men. Further, said Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, the practice is ineffective because 99% of the time officers don’t find any weapons or drugs.
“The fall in homicides [in New York City] happened prior to 2002, and the increase in stop-and-frisk happened after 2002, so there’s no correlation,” Jealous said. “You have more stop-and-frisks of young, black men in New York City than there are young, black men in New York City.”
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, said she’s made it her mission to end the kind of racial profiling that she believes played a role in her son’s death.
“It’s all about the laws,” said Fulton, who was rallying against racial profiling of Latino immigrants in Arizona Sunday. “You have to give, not only civilians, but police officers, the right direction. You can’t give the authority, whether it’s a civilian or a police officer, the right to stop somebody just because of the color of their skin.”