Held up 3 times at gunpoint: LES bodega worker voices support for stop-and-frisk

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This is not an exercise, but a real armed robbery – caught on security surveillance video – committed at the LES deli on the Lower East Side back in June.

19-year-old Abdul Yahya can be seen on the ground – terrified, under seige and worried that he was going to die.

Abdul survived, and the college student can chuckle about it now.

But there’s nothing funny about running a business under the constant fear that the next customer may not be interested in paying for what they want.

“They should stop and frisk if somebody looks suspicious. But you see someone walking with like their kids – it’s not a good idea. But sometimes people walk with their hoodie and their hat – they walk into a store to rob them,” Abdul told PIX11.

PIX11 wandered into Abdul’s deli looking for a different perspective.

We’ve devoted several stories over the past year to New Yorkers who took issue with the way the NYPD implemented it’s stop-and-frisk policy.

But what about Abdul and other workers, who, like any other resident, are simply interested in a safer work environment and less crime?

“That’s a good idea. Like, for stop-and-frisk – I like that idea. Because, for most of the people walking, you don’t know what they have on them. So, if you stop them, and you check them out – they might have something.  You’re stopping a crime right there. It’s not a bad idea”, said Abdul.

The NYPD’s new crime stats essentially imply that citizen safety has suffered since a federal judge found the department’s version of stop-and-frisk to be unconstitutional.

Of the crime stats, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says, “I don’t think that there is enough information to say that there is a trend, but it is obviously something that we do and have to watch closely and we will.”

But City Council member Jumaane Williams, who’s been an outspoken critic of the way the NYPD carried out stop-and-frisk, says the numbers over a longer time period – from 2002 to 2012, tell a different story.

Williams stresses that he does not object to the NYPD using stop and frisk – as long as the policy doesn’t violate someone’s rights.

Back at the deli, Abdul didn’t delve into the constitutional particulars. All he knows is he’s counting on the department to end the string of robberies that have rattled his cash register — and his peace of mind.

Dow asked Abdul how many times he’d been robbed this year. He replied, “Three times this year.  Dow asked if any of those robberies involves a gun? Abdul quickly answered, “all of them. The last one was to my head.”