An Aug. 31, 2011, story by Al Baker covers a federal judge's ruling that a case challenging the New York Police Department's, NYPD, "stop and frisk" policy can go forward. But the story is so one-sided that it practically topples over as you're reading it.
The suit was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, CCR, a leftist outfit that sued Reagan over Grenada and El Salvador, represented performance artist Karen Finley in a suit against the National Endowment for the Arts, represented a Palestinian "immigrant activist," and so forth. The New York Times naturally omits this history. The suit alleges that the NYPD's policy is based "not on reasonable suspicion of individuals but on racial profiling."
The judge (who sounds like she might have done a stint at the CCR during some time in her career), declined to dismiss the case, saying, "This case presents an issue of great public concern. Writ large, that issue is the disproportionate number of African-Americans and Latinos who become entangled in our criminal justice system, as compared to Caucasians." Note the passive voice. Like flies in a spider's web, they become "entangled" in the criminal justice system.
The New York Times' story then duly repeats statistics offered by the CCR's Assistant Legal Director, Christopher Dunn. "In 2010, city officers made more street stops -- 601,055 -- than in any previous 12-month period." Proving what exactly? The story editorializes: "As a practical matter, the stops display a measurable racial disparity: black and Hispanic people generally represent more than 85 percent of those stopped by the police, though their combined populations make up a small share of the city's racial composition."
OK. Are there any other relevant statistics here? The story does cite Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly's position that "The racial breakdown of the stops correlates to the racial breakdown of crime suspects." But no sooner does the story allude to the elephant in the room than it takes issue with the NYPD, warning that the rising number of stops is "bringing the practice under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers (no one is quoted), academics (ditto), the Center for Constitutional Rights and the New York Civil Liberties Union."
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