Dailyoftheday.com shares that these posters, found in the Bed Stuy area of New York, are being placed around bus shelters throughout the city by anonymous group RISE to remind people that racism still exists.
The in-your-face tone of the posters are meant to contrast the seeming gentrification of the neighborhood, with more “yuppies and buppies” moving into the neighborhood, individuals who have praised the efforts of the police, despite the continuance of the NYPD’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy and the potential racial profiling the policy entails.
Racial disparities in NYPD Stop and Frisk
In August of 2012, The New York Times did brief audio interviews with NYC residents across the five boroughs, asking them for their views on the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy. One White woman stated, “I highly believe in the stop and frisk. I don’t care what color you are. We hear the African American and Spanish society complaining about it. The White people don’t complain! If you stop me, you stop me, give me a ticket, frisk me, do what you gotta do. It’s a difference of how everybody looks at it. I’m sure there’s a lot of White teenagers that get pulled over and stopped—they just don’t make the big public nuisance that other people do. And it’s not being prejudiced. It’s just seeing things the way they are” . In fact, that’s not the way things are. White teenagers are not being pulled over in numbers anywhere near those of Black and Latino youth. The overwhelming majority of individuals who are subjected to NYPD stop and frisk procedures are Black and Latino people (especially males, but not just youth). If in fact “White people don’t complain”, it is because with regard to stop and frisk, White people have little to complain about. The frequent experience of being surveilled, stopped, and searched by the police—and the feelings of humiliation and dehumanization that accompany those stops—belongs primarily to Black and Latino New Yorkers. The policy also creates mistrust, doubt and fear of the police, particularly because of a history of racial profiling and major incidents of police brutality .
Stop-and-frisk (or, the official NYPD name, “Stop, Question and Frisk”) is “the practice by which an NYPD officer initiates a stop of an individual on the street allegedly based on so-called reasonable suspicion of criminal activity” [2, p.1], and during which frisking (searching) may also occur. Although the name stop and frisk implies one procedure, stopping someone and frisking someone are two separate acts, and each has its own level of required legal justification. If a police officer stops someone, she or he must have “reasonable suspicion the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit an unlawful act.” If the officer wants to frisk that person, she or he must have “reason to believe the person stopped has a weapon that poses a threat to the officer’s safety, a higher and more specific standard [3, p.8]. Those legal requirements are not being met when hundreds of thousands of people are being stopped. There were 685,724 stops in 2011, and of these 53% were Black, 34% were Latino, and 9% were White . The huge number of stops has increased every year. For example, there were approximately 97,000 stops in 2002, but by 2006 there were more than 506,000 . The most frequent reason (more than 50%) for stops was “furtive movements” , which is too vague to clearly indicate the suspected criminal activity.