By JOHN MORRIS
Author and activist Cornel West and a group of local preachers on Tuesday called for the resignation of police commissioner, Bill Bratton as the original “architect” of the city’s stop-and-frisk methods
The protest came less than a year after Mayor de Blasio hired Bratton, and in the wake of the city’s stop and frisk debate. The group based their demand on the contention that during his first term as police commissioner under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani Bratton implemented stop and frisk into the city’s policing tactics.
The practice soared throughout former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s three terms, and under former police commissioner Ray Kelly. From 2003 when Bloomberg took office thru 2013, over 5 million New Yorkers were stopped and frisked, records showed. More than half of those people were black and Latino, and didn’t have any weapons or contraband.
In 2010, Adrian Schoolcraft, a Brooklyn cop blew the whistle on the intention of some department commanders to target blacks and Latinos. Schoolcraft, who worked at Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 81st Precinct, provided the Village Voice with tape recordings exposing sergeants and captains who threated officers if they didn’t do stop and frisk, make arrest quotas, and record only certain robbery reports to change crime data.
In 2011, the number of stops reached 685,724, the highest in the last decade. 87 percent of those stopped were black and Latino, according to statistics revealed in the recent federal trial of the practice/
In 2013, Bronx cop Pedro Serrano secretly taped Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack telling him to specifically stop young black males. In Serrano’s recordings, McCormack is heard saying stop, “the right people, the right time, and the right location.”
Serrano, who worked at the 40th precinct, replies, “So what am I supposed to do: Stop every black and Hispanic?” The inspector tells him, “I have no problem telling you this, male blacks! And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem to tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21.”
In 2013, a class action suit was filed and a federal judge ruled that the practice was unconstitutional. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin said the stop and frisk practice was a “policy of indirect racial profiling.”
When Mayor de Blasio took office in January, some New Yorkers were shocked that he hired Bratton because of his connection to stop and frisk. Activists groups, city council members, and Al Sharpton harshly criticized the mayor’s choice.
Tuesday’s rally at the Grace Congregational Church in west Harlem, seemed more like a Sunday worship service. Several preachers, including the Rev. Nigel A. Pearce, and Pastor Chantel Wright from the Songs of Solomon Academy of the Arts attended.
Following a performance by a youth choir, Pastor Wright announced to the audience “we are calling for the resignation of this commissioner.” Wright also encouraged the audience to get involved, saying, “The way you can all get involved is by not spending your money,” Wright said. “This issue is economic.”
West, who didn’t give a speech, sat on the stage and nodded in agreement as Wright spoke.
Despite the big decline of stop and frisks since de Blasio took office, vowing to curb the practice, both West and Wright clung to the demand that Bratton resign. “Because he’s the architect of stop-and-frisk,” Pastor Wright .
“I don’t know how hard it will be to get Commissioner Bratton to resign,” she added, “but what is hard is watching our young people get stopped and frisked everyday for doing nothing.”