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NYPD head: Stop-frisk ruling will hurt minorities

Published: Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP file photo)
Oakland Police officer Huy Nguyen shows a video camera worn by some officers June 16, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Sunday is raising questions about the idea of outfitting New York officers with similar tiny video cameras.

NEW YORK – Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly assailed a federal judge's finding of racial discrimination and demand for changes to his department's stop and frisk practice, telling a Sunday news show that minority communities will be "the losers" if the ruling isn't overturned.

During interviews on three different shows, Kelly also raised questions about the judge's call to try outfitting officers with tiny video cameras. Throughout, he faulted the judge's reasoning and defended the New York Police Department's use of stop and frisk as legal and life-saving.

"The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." He noted that 97 percent of shooting victims are black or Hispanic, reasoned that similar demographics apply if a stop deters a killing and added that there have been more than 7,300 fewer killings in the 11 full years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure so far than in the 11 years before.

"Things are going right here in New York. And this decision certainly has the potential of overturning it," Kelly said on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

If stop and frisk were abandoned, "no question about it – violent crime will go up," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Over the past decade, police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people; 87 percent were black or Hispanic, groups that make up 54 percent of the city population. About 10 percent of the stops spur an arrest or summons. Police find weapons a fraction of the time.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin declared Monday that at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion and that the NYPD's practice is intentionally racially biased. The city plans to appeal.

Kelly said Sunday that Scheindlin's ruling rested on mistaken logic: The racial and ethnic makeup of those stopped should be compared to and reliably mirrors that of crime suspects, not the population at large, Kelly said. The judge called that approach wrong "because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent – not criminal."

Kelly and Bloomberg have made the same point before, and civil rights and minority advocates have deplored it, particularly after Bloomberg said in June that "we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little."

Kelly's remarks Sunday brought a rebuke from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous.

"Just because there are more murders in our community doesn't mean that you can treat all of us like we are guilty," Jealous said on "Meet the Press." ''... He's just way off base."

Scheindlin appointed a monitor to oversee various changes, including a one-year test that could put video cameras in more than 1,000 officers' lapels or eyeglasses.

Kelly suggested Sunday the cameras could be problematic when police respond to domestic arguments or when someone wants to provide confidential information.

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Follow Jennifer Peltz at http://twitter.com/jennpeltz

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