Racial Factor in NYC Stop-and-Frisk Tactics Cited In Recording Played in Trial


The debate over the New York Police Department's use of stop-and-frisk tactics has centered on whether officers engage in racial profiling. The New York Times says a recording suggests that, in at least one precinct, a person's skin color can be a deciding factor in who is stopped. The recording, played yesterday in federal court, was of a conversation between a patrol officer and his commanding officer in a violent South Bronx precinct that recorded the highest number of police stops in the Bronx in 2011. Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack urged the officer to conduct more street stops. The way to suppress violent crime, he said, was for officers to stop, question and, if necessary, frisk “the right people at the right time, the right location.” The officer who surreptitiously recorded the conversation last month, Pedro Serrano, pressed McCormack about “right people.” After an exchange about a crime-prone neighborhood, the inspector suggested that the police needed to conduct street stops of the people creating “the most problems” there. “The problem was, what, male blacks,” McCormack said. The conversation was played on the fourth day of a class-action lawsuit covering several million stop-and-frisk encounters in the city.

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