Homicide rates in cities like Chicago are down and some credit the reduction to an increased police presence and a renewed focus on public safety in recent months.
Yet in other cities, police actions didn’t seem to prevent gun violence but to worsen it.
On March 9, two undercover New York Police officers shot and killed Kimani “Kiki” Gray, a 16-year-old boy in Brooklyn, claiming he had pointed a .38-caliber Rohm revolver in their direction. Some witnesses say Gray was simply adjusting his belt when the officers opened fire. Gray’s family, friends and hundreds of others in the community took to the streets to protest of the shooting over several nights last week.
With tensions running high, some of the demonstrations over Gray’s death have escalated into confrontations with police.
“This action, which some are calling an uprising, was not about the details of one shooting,” said New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, a Democrat who represents the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. “It spoke to the overwhelming frustration that people are living through day after day.”
Williams was referring to NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, which critics see as both racist and ineffective. In 4.4 million stop-and-frisk encounters, more than 86% of people stopped were black or Latino, according to analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union based on NYPD data. And 88% did not result in an arrest or summons.
The cops who shot Gray were involved in five separate cases for alleged civil rights violations, including stop-and-frisks, that were settled out of court. And the city itself is is facing a major lawsuit challenging the policy.