The whole country is watching New York City to see with it does with its controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy.
The new Mayor Bill de Blasio knows it.
That’s why he’s tasked his newly-appointed police commissioner Bill Bratton to figure it out.
Part of that figuring it out process is to try to win back many African American New Yorkers who feel targeted by the NYPD because of “Stop and Frisk.”
And part of that winning back process is to deploy Bratton to African American communities to talk and listen.
But Bratton has some explaining to do.
Not only did he help to increase “Stop and Frisk,” when he was police commissioner under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani back in the 1990’s, he’s also said recently that, “You cannot police without it.”
Bratton who, by the way, refers to the policy as “Stop, Question and Frisk’ has also said recently, “If you don’t have it, then you’d have anarchy.”
Keep in mind his boss, de Blasio who has a black wife and two bi-racial children, ran on a platform that vowed to get rid of the policy.
Kelli Goff of the Root.com reports that this week Bratton attended a reception and took questions from community leaders who gave him feedback about the tenuous relationship between New York City Police and the black community, and how to mend it. Goff reports the event was attended by artists, educators, business leaders, media figures, members of the NAACP and The National Urban League.
She writes quote, “The evening’s conversation was candid, cordial and occasionally uncomfortable, with concerned parents referencing the widely shared fears that black parents raising black sons have in the era of Trayvon Martin.”
She goes on to write that when Bratton was, “Asked if his hope is that events like this one will ease tensions between minorities and the NYPD, Bratton replied, “Certainly.” He added, “Mayor de Blasio, who I am fortunate to work with, made [stop and frisk] a centerpiece of his campaign to reform it.”
Notice he said to reform it?
De Blasio’s campaign promise was to, “end the era of stop-and-frisk policing,” not reform it.
Hence, you see the conundrum for the mayor, the commissioner and the citizens of New York.
It is the same conundrum that police departments, city leaders and citizens face all across the country- police who believe as Bratton does that the policy is essential- citizens who believe its blatant discrimination- and a mayor stuck in the middle.
Everyone is watching.
And whatever they decide you can better believe so goes New York, so goes the rest of the Nation.
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