The Left’s Newest ‘Civil Right’ — the Right to Be Murdered


nypdIn open defiance of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, New York’s City Council last week passed two bills aimed at curbing the NY Police Department’s practice of “stop-and-frisk,” which has been among the most effective crime-fighting tactics ever employed. One of the bills mandates the appointment of an independent inspector general to monitor the department for evidence that its use of stop-and-frisk may be unfairly targeting blacks and Hispanics; the other opens the door to racial profiling lawsuits against the NYPD. Black Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Queens), who prides himself on being a strong voice against profiling, says that he himself was once “dehumanized” by the experience of being stopped and frisked as a teen, and thus wishes to spare other minority youth the same pain.

In a nutshell, the laws governing stop-and-frisk permit police to briefly detain a person upon reasonable suspicion of his or her involvement in, or intent to commit, a crime—even if there is not yet enough evidence to make an arrest. To justify such a stop, an officer must be able to cite “specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.” During detention, an officer may question the suspect and, if he deems it advisable, conduct a weapon search by frisking the suspect’s outer garments.

But civil-liberties and civil-rights activists nationwide—and in New York particularly—routinely charge that stop-and-frisk practices are racist because they target nonwhite minorities in disproportionate numbers. Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather MacDonald, who has done immensely important work in researching the facts about stop-and-frisk and placing them in proper perspective, notes that in 2011 in New York City, African Americans, who constituted 23% of the city’s population, were fully 53% of all police-stop subjects. By contrast, whites were 35% of the city’s population but only 9% of stop subjects.

Left-wing outfits like the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights maintain that if the racial makeup of those affected by “stop-and-frisk” does not mirror the racial makeup of the surrounding community as a whole, we can deduce that racism and/or discrimination are at work. But these critics omit the most important facts of all from the equation: In New York City during 2011, black offenders were responsible for 66% of all violent crimes, including approximately 70% of robberies and 80% of shootings. Blacks and Hispanics, combined, accounted for an astonishing 98% of all shootings in the city. Whites, by contrast, were responsible for only 5% of New York’s violent crimes, and scarcely 1% of its civilian shootings.

These plain and inarguable facts explain precisely why the residents of black and Hispanic neighborhoods seem to be “targets” of stop-and-frisk more often than residents of mostly white areas. In some cases, crime rates in minority neighborhoods are literally dozens of times higher than elsewhere.

The statistics above, it should be noted, raise a vital question that merits contemplation: If blacks constitute 66% of all violent offenders but only 53% of stop-and-frisk targets, and if whites are just 5% of violent offenders but fully 9% of stop-and-frisk targets, could it not be argued that it is actually whites, and not blacks, who are disproportionately “targeted” by stop-and-frisk?

And here’s another reasonable question that deserves an answer: While critics claim that stop-and-frisk policies “target” blacks and Hispanics in minority neighborhoods, why do they not also say that such policies, in another sense, selectively favor blacks and Hispanics by devoting a vastly disproportionate share of police manpower and city resources to protecting them and their communities? After all, it isn’t only the perpetrators in those places who are overwhelming black and Hispanic; the victims are mostly members of those demographics as well.

The role of stop-and-frisk in New York increased dramatically after Rudolph Giuliani replaced David Dinkins as mayor in 1994,and was one among a constellation of effective new strategies introduced by Giuliani. Others included so-called “broken windows” policing, which clamped down on petty crimes as a way to also forestall more serious offenses, and the use of COMPSTAT, a computer technology tool that helped pinpoint specific high-crime neighborhoods geographically on a map. The results of Giuliani’s efforts were extraordinary, as evidenced by the fact that during his eight years in office, the incidence of homicide in the city fell from an annual average of 2,085 during the Dinkins administration, to just 649 by the final year of Giuliani’s tenure. From a statistcal standpoint, this was by far the most dramatic crime drop in the recorded history of America, unrivaled by reductions in any other city. The positive trends continued under Giuliani’s successor, Michael Bloomberg, with total homicides in the city ranging between 471 and 597 during each of his first ten years in office.

Those who have benefited most, by far, from the stop-and-frisk policies put in place by Giuliani (and later, Bloomberg) are the black and Hispanic residents of such traditionally high-crime areas as Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 81st Precinct, and Harlem’s 28th Precinct. Indeed, blacks and Hispanics have accounted for fully 79% of the decline in homicide victims citywide since 1993. If, from 1993 forward, crime rates would have stayed at their Dinkins-era levels—rather than at the much lower levels brought about by the Giuliani/Bloomberg administrations—more than 10,000 additional black and Hispanic males would have met an early death-by-homicide during the past two decades. Also during that period, the number of rapes that occurred annually in New York City declined by 54.8%; robberies fell by 80.3%; felony assaults dropped by 57.8%; and burglaries were reduced by 84.6%. This means that many tens of thousands of black and Hispanic would-be victims were spared the anguish associated with those crimes as well.

Yet none of these facts matter in the least to our perpetually outraged champions of “civil rights” and “civil liberties,” wedded, as they are, to their quasi-religious conviction that white racism lurks menacingly around every corner and lies at the heart of public policies like stop-and-frisk. Thus do we see the spectacle of New York State Senator Eric Adams, a staunch opponent of “racial profiling,” pining for a return to the halcyon days of the Dinkins administration, when, according to Adams, even current police commissioner Raymond Kelly, who also served under Dinkins, was made of kinder, gentler stuff: “Kelly was one of the great humanitarians in policing under David Dinkins,” says Adams. “I don’t know what happened to him that all of a sudden his philosophical understanding of the importance of community and police liking each other has changed.” The “humanitarianism” that Adams wistfully longs to restore came at a dear price, however, and went a long way toward filling the graveyards of New York.

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  • hyedenny

    I smell the “those who are willing to give up freedom for temporary security deserve neither” argument. Police, generally, already have too much power which they brazenly and serially abuse. There are other – CONSTITUTIONAL – ways to stop or deter crime. How did this article make it on to a brilliant conservative website?

    • Well Done

      hyedenny, it is you who smells. Giuliani and Bloomberg’s methods work. The police know who are committing the crimes. This article “makes it on to a brilliant conservative website” because it shows how the hard left are trying to dismantle our civilization.

      New York Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights MUST know their complaints are quite stupid. To presume that incidents of frisking must match up with population percentages is completely stupid. Stats and common sense show us that a return to how it was under Dinkins will mean more deaths. There is nothing unconstitutional about searching those who commit crimes. This article makes a good point that matching the profile of those searched to those committing the crimes makes sense and save lives. You, on the other hand, make no sense. Apparently you want crime rates to rise. Fk you and anyone who thinks like you.

      • hyedenny

        WOW!! Spoken like a true libtard.

        • Rocky Mountain

          Thanks for the middle school mudslinging. “Libtard” – incredibly imaginative and original.

          • sotheby94

            …if the shoe fits.

            Someone a little sensitive today, Rocky?

    • Adam

      Obviously, you have never lived in New York City, you would definitely give up some freedoms for security.

      • Jack_Wisdom

        Great point Adam. When I moved to NYC in 1977 it was worse than the so-called “Wild West.” The subways were covered with graffiti both inside and out. Spray painting was so common it would go on while riders were in the car. You would be taking your life in your hands to say something. I was mugged twice during those early years, once at knifepoint and another time at gun point. Every citizen knew one or more people who had been mugged. Crime was rife. Guiliani’s administration brought tremendous changes and although I believe that Bloomberg has falsified some of the crime statistics, it’s still one of the safest if not the safest big city. What a difference. Thanks Adam for saying succinctly what needed to be said without being as wordy as I.

      • BillG4

        You’ve hit the nail on the head. A smarter man than I said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

      • pupsncats

        I believe that is true for any large city in the U.S. Why do you think the left wants us all to crowd together in big cities while taking away our right to own guns? Because the criminals will have free reign and the government can then step in and tell us we need it for our “safety”. (And people are easier to control if they are concentrated in large numbers crowded together.)

      • GinoMachiavelli

        I want to know why NY City stinks so bad?

        I mean Rome has some bad smells, but NY City is soaked with stink. My most vivid picture of NY City is piles of garbage on the sidewalks in the evening…
        And Brooklyn… A sore on a face of this country.

    • Guy Fromage

      It’s obvious you are not being sincere in your criticism, but simply provocative, so this reply isn’t really for you, but for the few poor souls who stumble here, who might get the impression that there is some sort of point to your pointless post:

      Conservatives don’t believe in anarchy.

      Thank you for your time.

    • Rocky Mountain

      Please tell us how. While it is true that there are police who abuse their positions ultimately it is the criminals who abuse their right to live in civil society. As has been note numerous times, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Constitution_is_not_a_suicide_pact

      • Gee

        But it is the law of the land. Want to violate that? If you wish to amend it – do it legally. Breaking the law to enforce the ‘law’ is not going to work

        • Jack_Wisdom

          Stop and frisk laws have been found to be constitutional. Probably cause is not the only basis for personal search.

          • Gee

            They might be declared legal – but they sure as heck aren’t Constitutional.

            Amendment IV
            The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

            That is the Constitution – this stop and search is most certainly not

    • NAHALKIDES

      There’s nothing particularly objectionable about “stop and frisk” policies – if a police officer sees something suspicious, he should be able to investigate. That means to detail someone for a short period and ask him questions. He would not have any right to search (except a weapons frisk for safety) without some probable cause to do so.

      If you want the police to take no action until a crime has definitely been committed, then there’s no point in sending them out on patrol in the first place, except for traffic patrols.

  • montbrun

    As to this “profiling” allegations, may I ask why, more often than not, when
    police stops a car driven by a young African-American and again, more
    often than not, he either has no drivers license or it is expired or revoked;
    there is no registration, no insurance and, if the vehicle is searched, it will
    probably have liquor, drugs or guns….

    Needless to say, if this can be chalked up to “Racial Profiing”, then the
    whole system is upside down and lets welcome anarchy, which is
    precisely what the opponents are driving at…
    After all, nothing surprises me from the ROTTEN APPLE..and the people
    who still dare living there.!!!!

  • Scott

    this is not the 1960″s when we taught and fought against racism and civil rights.We took it to our schools we made laws to protect against racism and rewarded company’s with tax breaks. Entitlement programs are using tax money to put them in the front of the line for housing to food stamps and many other rewards to entitlements . Today the year is 2013 times have changed now we have politics that use the words of racism and Blacks use it as a crutch to lobby too and even commit crimes with . I Dare any white family to send there child to a black community and school and see what happens . Any black family would be greeted with open arms in any community I know of ! The entitlements and funding of Racism has turned the page ..I believe we need to educate racism for more respect from African America now

  • rbla

    The City Council consists of a group of hypocritical libtards (yes I’ll borrow that word) who believe in taking away guns from western ranchers, but are against an effective gun control program appropriate to densely populated urban areas.

  • musterion

    The problem is that the policy is too effective. The progressives need to have to populace feeling scared and insecure in order to have them accept their big government solutions. If people are feeling secure, you cannot whip them up.

    • PouponMarks

      Progressives/Marxists, working hard to keep the poopulation scared and stupid. That’s the ticket!!

      • musterion

        Yes, absolutely, “Never waste a good crisis,” so let’s manufacture them and let nothing go to waste–good recycling!.

  • Gee

    I must side with the protestors. The Constitution explicitly states this is illegal conduct. If you want to do this then do it legally – amend the Constitution.

    It is just like all those that want to prevent free speech or take away guns. If the public supports it then do it legally. If they don’t then you can’t do it period.

    • Jack_Wisdom

      Sorry to tell you Gee, but stop and frisk laws have been challenged in the courts, and have been found to be Constitutional. If you don’t believe me, do a little research and you’ll see that what I am saying is true.

      • Gee

        The laws restricting gun ownership have been found to be Constitutional as well. That doesn’t mean squat.

        The Constitution is absolutely clear on the subject and just because we have a corrupt judiciary does not change the fact that it is strictly illegal under the Constitution.

        It’s time we take back all our rights

        • Donald Kosloff

          Where, in the Constitution, may this clarity be found?

  • BillG4

    Clearly, it’s profiling. The post is rationalization to justify it as a pragmatic solution. However, if citizens of NY were allowed concealed carry, a pragmatic solution that infringes upon individual liberty would not be required.

    • asa2222

      It’s criminal profiling, yes, but is it racial profiling?

  • pupsncats

    We are told that all law enforcement agencies and all white police are racist and specifically target blacks,So let’s just do an experiment starting in New York. Let blacks do as they wish. No questioning by police for anything. Since they claim they are innocent of crimes and are always targeted because they are black, let them prove it. See how much crime is reduced, as it should be under this experiment. Then the blacks and liberal New Yorkers can either prove their never-ending claims of racism or finally shut the hell up.

  • ebonystone

    Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. His answer: “That’s where the money is.”
    The article points out the predominance of blacks in committing crimes; so if the question is why are the police stopping and frisking mainly blacks, the answer is “That’s where the criminals are.”

  • brigin

    So they profile white ppl just so they can say they are NOT profiling black ppl. Next thing you know they will be listening to everyone’s phone calls so as not to offend radical islamists. Oops, they’re already doing that.

  • Donald Kosloff

    And “stop and frisk” is reasonable (did you miss that pesky word “unreasonable”?)

  • tickletik

    I think the idea of being stopped and frisked is disgusting and if it is not unconstitutional, it certainly violates the spirit of the constitution.

    How about we just scrap the damn drug laws, and restore the constitutional right to carry concealed weapons? Maybe its time we stopped trying to be so clever?