New York City police stops of hundreds of thousands of people each year are in the spotlight as city lawmakers consider setting new rules for the stop-and-frisk practice and even appointing an inspector general to monitor the police department.
It is too soon to say what laws, if any, will result from City Council hearings on the proposals, beginning Wednesday.
But after years of complaints that the practice discriminates against minorities, the hearings signal the public debate has gotten loud enough that lawmakers, not to mention candidates in next year's mayoral election, feel they have to be heard.
The controversy is playing out amid the contest to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has defended the practice. All the likely top contenders have made a point of saying they are concerned about stop-and-frisks, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has near-total control over which efforts get to a council vote.
Quinn said at an unrelated news conference Tuesday that she wants "ongoing reform" of stop-and-frisks but hasn't decided whether to support any of the proposals.
Besides creating an inspector general's post, the measures would require officers to explain why they are stopping people, tell them when they have a right to refuse a search, and hand out business cards identifying themselves. Another proposal would give people more latitude to sue over stops they considered biased.
In stop-and-frisks, officers approach, question and sometimes pat down people police say were behaving suspiciously — acting like a lookout or carrying a pry bar, for example — but weren't necessarily sought in any particular crime.
The stops became an integral part of the city's law enforcement in the mid-1990s, but the numbers have risen since Bloomberg took office in 2002. Officers made a record 684,330 of the stops last year, seven times the number in 2002. They stopped about 337,000 in the first six months of this year.
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credit the practice with deterring violence and helping drive down New York's crime rate to the lowest among the country's 25 most populous cities, as measured by the FBI.
"The last thing we need is to have some politician or judge getting involved with setting policy," Bloomberg said at an unrelated news conference Monday. "Because you won't be safe anymore. Today you are."
But stop-and-frisk critics point to other statistics: Some 87 percent of those stopped last year involved blacks or Hispanics, and about 12 percent of the stops resulted in arrests or tickets. Opponents say the figures add up to racial profiling that does little for public safety.
"We all want a safe city … but discriminatory policing has grown significantly in recent years. I don't believe it actually makes us safer because it frays the bond of trust between police and the community," said Councilman Brad Lander, a lead sponsor of the inspector general proposal.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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