The Gendered Violence of Stop-and-Frisk

[“Stop and Frisk” is the name of the New York Police Department program of Racial Profiling–of stalking and harassing communities which have been targeted.  In 2011, 87% of those stopped and frisked were black and brown–(41% were black and brown youth)–and hounded many other people of color, Muslims, women, transgender, and others perceived by police to be suspicious by dint of appearance (not because of criminal activity).  The protests against this program continue to grow, and are becoming more focused on the systems of oppression that his program is designed to enforce. — Frontlines ed.]

Though racist stop-and-frisk policies have been framed as primarily police violence against men of color (black and Latino men account for 40% of the stops from last year), women and transgender people are also subject to the violence of random police frisks on the street.  The New York Times recently profiled several women who have experienced stop-and-frisk in order to “increase safety:”

Crystal Pope, 22, said she and two female friends were frisked by male officers last year in Harlem Heights. The officers said they were looking for a rapist. It was an early spring evening at about 6:30 p.m. The three women sat talking on a bench near Ms. Pope’s home on 143rd Street when the officers pulled up and asked for identification, she said.

“They tapped around the waistline of my jeans,” Ms. Pope said. “They tapped the back pockets of my jeans, around my buttock. It was kind of disrespectful and degrading. It was uncalled-for. It made no sense. How are you going to stop three females when you are supposedly looking for a male rapist?” Continue reading

Thousands march in silence against NYPD’s ‘Stop and Frisk’

Democracy Now’s coverage of the Stop ‘Stop and Frisk’ march

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By Frederick Bernas, CNN — June 18, 2012

New York (CNN) — Rather than celebrating Father’s Day on Sunday afternoon, Horace Russell marched with several thousand people to take a stand against the New York Police Department’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy.

“I feel it every single day, practically,” said Russell, who works as a teacher in the Bronx. “I’ve been pulled over and pushed against fences, frisked, but have never been arrested.”

Russell’s story sounded familiar to many of Sunday’s marchers, who want to see action from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly — either by abolishing or reforming stop-and-frisk.

Last year, nearly 685,000 people were stopped by officers in cases that ended with no meaningful charge, according to police department statistics. Of these, 87% were African-American or Latino, the police department says.

“They profile me because I’m a Rastafarian and I have dreadlocks, so therefore I get pulled over just for my looks,” said Russell.

Sunday’s silent march started at 110th Street and headed down Fifth Avenue, ending at 78th Street after passing Bloomberg’s townhouse on 79th Street.

“I don’t know a single black or Latino male who doesn’t say he is basically afraid to be out on the streets,” said the Rev. Stephen Phelps, a senior minister at the Riverside Church near West Harlem. He was one of a diverse group of faith leaders, and representatives of some 300 organizations , brought together by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Continue reading