CHELSEA, Manhattan (PIX11) – After just two weeks on the job, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is calling stop and frisk a problem of the previous administration.
According to Commissioner Bratton, the problem of stop and frisk is more or less solved.
He says, “The number of stops has fallen dramatically and in some instances it has stopped altogether.”
New Yorkers are not just going to take his word for it though.
“Copwatch” teams are groups of citizens who randomly document police street encounters – many of them stop and frisks.
But their teams can’t be everywhere at once – which is why these days, there’s so much community pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, and his department to end the era of the “old stop and frisk.”
A crowd that gathered Thursday night in Chelsea listened as various community leaders – all critics of the NYPD’s version of stop and frisk — respectfully demanded that Mayor de Blasio’s actions speak louder than his words.
“I’m curious to see how the public relations aspect of his tenure thus far meshes with the reality in the streets of New York. I don’t think we know yet,” said Robert Pinter of Campaign to Stop False Arrests.
The latest numbers are indeed compelling. From 694k stops in 2011, down to 532k stops in 2012 and just 194k stop-and-frisk stops last year, in 2013.
That downward trend is encouraging, says Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU.
But as we’ve heard so often before in reporting the issue of stop and frisk, the trick will be making sure there’s no disconnect between what comes out of Commissioner Bratton’s mouth at police headquarters and a beat officer’s mouth out on the street.
“There’s no formulaic answer to how we change culture. But we know that a big piece of change in culture is the message that comes from the top. It’s important that the message from the top is – we are not a tale of two cities,” said Lieberman.