72 years ago today, John Lennon was born. Known internationally for his iconic songs, “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine,” he was also known as a controversial political figure for his political and anti-war beliefs as well as his peace activism. I believe his birthday couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for the release of a documentary that sheds light on the NYPD practice of Stop-and-Frisk.
What is Stop-and-Frisk, do you ask? It is a practice in which police will stop suspicious looking individuals on the street and immediately pat them down in search for illegal weapons or drugs. This practice is widespread in the New York Police Department, which is one of the last agencies in New York City that continue to operate without any oversight. According to the documentary makers:
In 2011, the NYPD conducted 685,724 stop-and-frisks, a 600% increase in the last decade. Of the stops, about 9 out of 10 people had committed no wrongdoing, and 88% were Black or Latino. Find out more about this controversial practice, including what an actual stop sounds like and how current NYPD officers weigh in.
Some highlights of the documentary:
- Only known audio of “Stop-and-Frisk” in action
- Secret recording from NYPD headquarters
- Exclusive interviews with current NYPD cops
I think this video is highly important for college students to watch, especially individuals who go to school in or around NYC. One of my friends, Erin Schneider, had spent her final year at NYU working on NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk and took part in the creation of this video exposé. How can we live in a nation where we claim there is no longer racial tension and periods of oppression, if our fellow college students and other people of color have experienced such a violation of their human rights — and by the system created to protect them, no less?
I was angered to tears watching this video. I have a close friend who had experienced being stopped-and-frisked no less than 3 times in his life in NYC. If you aren’t moved even the slightest by the injustices happening in this video, then there is something wrong.
What are your thoughts on the Stop-and-Frisk policy?