Mar 102010
 March 10, 2010  Posted by  Surveillance

I missed an op-ed by Bob Herbert in the New York Times on March 1 that is worthy of note here:

From 2004 through 2009, in a policy that has gotten completely out of control, New York City police officers stopped people on the street and checked them out nearly three million times, frisking and otherwise humiliating many of them.

Upward of 90 percent of the people stopped are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. And yet the New York Police Department is compounding this intolerable indignity by compiling an enormous and permanent computerized database of these encounters between innocent New Yorkers and the police.

Not only are most of the people innocent, but a vast majority are either black or Hispanic. There is no defense for this policy. It’s a gruesome, racist practice that should offend all New Yorkers, and it should cease.


The Police Department has no intention of changing its policy. A spokesman for Commissioner Kelly told me that information collected when the police stop an innocent individual “may be useful” in future investigations. The stored data may become useful “in the same way” that license plate information is useful, he said.

You can read the entire op-ed here. The NYCLU has gotten involved.

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