I don’t care much that Judge Scheindlin, in her 198 page ruling, found NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” practice to be unconstitutional. I don’t consider it a victory for man or for NYC, and I haven’t concerned myself with the impact that said ruling will have on Mayor Bloomberg’s last few months as the Lord of the Flies in the great metropolis and four boroughs.
No joy came from the ruling for me, because upon closer inspection, the pulblished portions of the ruling reveal that the practice itself isn’t what was found to be unconstitutional, friends. It was the way in which it’s practiced that was ruled unconstitutional. NYPD’s Commisioner Kelly in his hste, failed to, in Judge Scheindlin’s view, seek appropriate federal oversight of the program, offer appropriate training and guidelines, and demonstrated a lack of consideration of quality control measures *recording of procedures, documenting findings). In lay terms, you can do it, but how you gon do it like this and why can’t you see that it’s wrong.
At issue, at least for some, is the very real impact that the practices of “stop and frisk” have had on the citizens of NYC. A disproportionate number of young males of color have been “stopped and frisked” since the policy’s inception, which has been the battle cry of opponents of the practice. Those who have lauded the practice (including the Mayor and his commissioner), indicate that it has gone a long way toward preventing crime before it happens, a concept that, I am afraid, i don’t completely understand.
Either way, I find myself not caring as deeply about this ruling for a number of reasons. First, the Mayor is coming to the end of his third term (how did he get a third term?) in office, and has shown historically that he is not a gracious loser, so an appeal is certain to follow. Next, and to me, most importantly, is the reality that such a drastic measure could gain traction as a policing measure. And that last is something I place squarely on the shoulders of our community.
Where I don’t want young men who look exactly like me, and are from where I’m from (The Bronx has highest number of reported stop and frisk incidents), i have to acknowledge that we have failed to police our own with regard to crime.
It is our sons who are overwhelmingly responsible for the violent, property and vandalism crimes in our communities, but we want to take solace in a judge ruling on the uconstitutionality of cops stopping our boys in the street?
Wrong? Certainly. But ultimately, that conversation distracts us from the larger picture. that being that our children are cannibalizing one another, our emotional well-being and their own promise by dedicating themselves to crime.
I can’t say with any certainty that stop and frisk led to fewer murders or thefts in Kingsbridge, or on Fordham Road, or in Marble Hill or on Gun Hill Road, but that honestly isnt the issue. The fact that we are all aware of the rampany crime at our doors, but then tolerate and at times, accept it, is at issue.
I’m not blaming the victim here. I understand, with complete clairty, that poverty, rescources and access have been at the core of the rampant cycle of crime, justice involvement and fear in our communities. However, we are complicit in establishing a “non-aggression” treaty with those doing the dirt in our homes.
Those boys being stopped are often not the problem, but we have positioned them to be abused by this poorly thought out NYPD policy by our own inaction. We don’t snitch to cops when we know who did what. We don’t shame our sons/cousins/brother/lovers who join gangs, sell drugs, rob others or who generally menace, because we have either become apathetic or so bowed by our experiences that we feel nothing will ever change.
Our raising, and management, of those closest to us in our community, is what gave those who know nothing about policing us, the very real opportunity to employ a draconian gestapo tactic and to claim statistically insignificant success in it’s use.
We have done little to instruct our constables on how to best police us, and considering that we know ourselves best, that failure is on us. We have chosen to look the other way, mind our business, just “take care of ours” and hope for the best.
And around us decisions are made by billionaire Shoguns and out of touch lawmakers that effect our children.
My goal isn’t to stimulate a conversation about community activism, since I have seen it’s limited success at work, but I salute those who hang in there with it. I don’t wish to bash the Mayor or Kelly either. What i would like to see ultimately, is a discourse on all of these matters that addresses both them and us, because we are full party to our current circumstances.
And I’m certain that some of you may wonder if I’ve become some centrist, or semi-Republican as I’ve matured and grown, but I assure you I’m the same dude from 196th and Morris. Reality is, I realize the importance of family keeping it 100 with family.
We want the President to fix us with laws, we want our politicians to fix our circumstances with influence, we want churches to offer us a miracle and we want our bright and educated to return to us and save the day. I’m disappointed.
My hope is that my community sees that we have allowed for fascist practices by giving those who dont know or care ammunition. And we have ourselves to blame for that. We have turned over power of our freedom and lives to others, and we are to blame for that.
I want nothing more than an honest conversation about how we first correct ourselves and then bring those concerns to our neighbors. I’m just saying.