Telling Our Stories: MXGM Member Talks NYPD Violence and Calls for Passage of the Community Safety Act

Oct 25, 2012 in New York, PSDC Blog

Greetings. My name is Djibril Toure and I am here today as a lifelong Brooklyn resident and member of the Malcolm X Grassroots to lend my voice to those calling for a change in the NYPD’s Stop & Frisk program, and passage of the Community Safety Act.

I am a college graduate, musician and business owner and I have directly experienced the racially biased stop and frisk policies of the NYPD.  I have had the disheartening experience of walking down the street in my own community where I grew up, being stopped for no reason, forced to stand against a wall and being illegally searched by four officers who demanded that I show them some ID or go to jail. This experience repeated itself so many times over the years that I became involved in providing assistance to others who had experienced the same or many times much worse treatment, sometimes resulting in physical injuries. I have heard too many stories of the humiliation and frustration of regular law abiding community residents who are repeatedly stop & frisked or tricked into consenting to a search. This is an all too common occurrence across neighborhoods and communities in this city. Too many of my peers have shared similarly frustrating stories of being stopped and searched, for no apparent reason without explanation.  The overaggressive policing approach taken in these communities has led to a widespread feeling of mistrust towards the police.

The issue of consent to a search without a warrant is a particularly important one. (Intro. 801) of the Community Safety Act would require that NYPD officers provide their name and rank to the subjects of law enforcement activity, such as New Yorkers being stopped and frisked. The officer would also have to provide the specific reason for the stop and a business card to the person being stopped that includes information on how to file a complaint. In my experience, this is a key issue that must be addressed because often when people in my community are approached by undercover officers for questioning, they do not even initially understand that they are dealing with a police encounter. This often leads to people not being able to identify who they were stopped by. In my personal experience, I have on several occasions witnessed officers refusing to provide their name and badge number – or even providing a false one. Continue reading

New York: Police program stalking Muslims denounced by whistleblower

NYPD informant who tracked militants quits, denounces police

Police barricade in NYC (Mario Tama, Getty Images)
Police barricade in NYCBy Mark Hosenball, Reuters, October 22, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An informant recruited by the New York Police Department to collect information on suspected Islamic militants has quit and denounced his police handlers, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the case.

The informant, a 19-year-old American citizen of Bangladeshi descent, was recruited by the NYPD recently as part of an expansive intelligence-gathering program the department launched after the al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001. His assignment was to make contact with suspected Islamic extremists to try to determine if they had any inclinations to engage in violence, the source said.

On October 2, however, the informant, whom the source did not name, posted a message on his personal Facebook page exposing himself as an informant to people he had been in contact with. He declared that he had quit as a police informant.

“I was jus (sic) of pretending to be friends with ya cuz I honestly thought i was fighting terrorism, but let’s be real, it’s all a f…king scheme,” the informant wrote, according to the source. “It was all about the money,” he added.

The source said that the informant was not involved in an investigation that led to the arrest of a Bangladeshi man last week in connection with an alleged scheme to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan. Continue reading

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

NYPD Officers Shoot and Kill Three Black Men in One Week

Ramarley Graham, killed by NYPD (click for ABC news report)

By TOM HAYS   02/ 3/12, New York Times

NEW YORK — The police department announced Friday that a narcotics officer and his sergeant have been stripped of their guns and put on desk duty amid an investigation of the officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed drug suspect within a few feet of the suspect’s grandmother inside the family home.

The measures came after the New York Police Department backed away from an initial account saying that the officer had struggled with 18-year-old Ramarley Graham at the door of a bathroom. Police said a bag of marijuana was found in the toilet, suggesting Graham was trying to flush it away before the gunfire erupted.

A grand jury was expected to investigate the shooting to determine if the officers should face criminal charges, said police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who expressed sympathy for the family.

“We’re obviously trying to get the facts,” Kelly said at a news conference. “A young man’s life was taken. … It’s the worst thing that can happen to a parent – to lose a child.”

The NYPD did not immediately release the name of the 30-year-old officer or the sergeant, whose conduct was under scrutiny because he was in charge of the officers who responded to the home.

The shooting stemmed from an NYPD investigation of street corner drug dealing in a Bronx neighborhood. On Thursday afternoon, a police observation team identified Graham as a potential suspect and radioed to other officers that he “appeared to be armed,” Kelly said. In a later transmission, the officers mistakenly reported that “they observed the butt of a gun in the waistband of (Graham),” he added. Continue reading