The New York Civil Liberties Union has released an app that lets bystanders document New York's stop and frisk searches. The Stop & Frisk Watch app has been out on Android since June, and now it's available for the iPhone.
Stop and frisk, the tactic of attempting to reduce crime by letting police search anyone on the street deemed suspicious, is deeply controversial in New York. A report released Monday by the NYPD showed that nearly nine out of 10 of people searched by police under the law were black or hispanic. Critics say unnecessary force is often used in those searches, but there's only a video here and there to back that up.
Stop & Frisk Watch has a pretty straightforward strategy for trying to hold officers more accountable. It has three functions: record, listen, and report. "Record" creates a video that's sent to the NYCLU. "Listen" uses GPS to look for people nearby who've activated the app, so you can find out where a search might be happening. "Report" opens a survey about the search that can be sent to the NYCLU, if you didn't happen to capture video (or if you were the person stopped). There's also a "Know Your Rights" section that lists what you're entitled to under law. (Yes, filming the police is legal if you don't get in the way.)
It's pretty clearly meant for bystanders more than the person being stopped--it's not going to be easy for someone to pull out his phone if he's getting frisked by a cop.
So, regardless of how you feel about New York's policy, is this going to do anything to battle it? Well, the NYCLU has gotten 5,000 videos since the launch of the Android app from the more than 20,000 people who've downloaded it, but only 200 of those videos were actually of police incidents, according to Mashable--the rest were mostly people testing out the app. That's a lot to sort through in search of an incident, but then again, it only takes one extreme video--like this now infamous one--to sway public opinion.
Your willingness to allow your rights to be violated is the very reason the city is overrun by criminals.
Why don't you just give up ALL your rights and let them make Soylent Green out of you?
This makes me ashamed to be a American.
I didn't know NYPD were such the 'touchy-feely' type?
I guess they aren't getting any at home, lol.
This app is fine and all, but I'd be more interested in how many more arrests there have been for drugs or weapons vs how many obvious violations there are. There will always be cops who over step their authority regardless of policy.
Am I correct in my understanding that they relaxed the meaning of "probable cause" for frisks?
I can see both sides. If you scatter at the sight of a police officer, that's pretty suspicious. On the same note, even law abiding citizens are a little tense around officers because no one wants a ticket or something. I've been on both sides, my brother is an officer and I was almost slapped with a couple felonies in high school (trumped up charges). I don't really buy into the idea that the bulk of the officers are going around bullying a bunch of innocent people. My front door was kicked in during the middle of the day a couple months ago, so I'm doing some soul searching pondering if I would be ok with such a policy in my own city.
This is going to get really fun when they start frisking street cart vendors for contraband 32 oz. sodas.
Someone who is willing to give up a little liberty to get a little security deserves neither and will lose both.
New York and California are the proof that totalitarian governments fail regardless of the starting environment. Can we stop moving in that direction federally, please? One day, it will be your kids/grandkids telling the story, not someone else's.
Legislate for liberty for the individual, and safety and prosperity will follow. If this happened to my kid, I'd be in the market for some fertilizer, if you know what I mean. It's time to reform or revolt, NYC.
Honestly I don't care. I have been stopped in the airport enough to know that they are only doing their job. People simply want to act like children and rebel against everything.
DrAEK, that's the attitude of someone who doesn't deserve the freedoms and rights they take for granted each day.
Why don't you listen to this encounter and open your narrow mind some, especially since we are talking about your CONSTITUTIONALLY protected rights.
The cops in the encounter are criminals, not just because they violated his fourth amendment rights, but because they physically threatened him with bodily harm. If ever I've heard of terrorism, this is it.
There are really 2 issues here
1. Is stop and frisk legal -- the videos have nothing to do with that.
I'm concerned about this issue, but it should not be decided by a few sensational videos.
2. Are individual police breaking the rules -- that's a good use for the videos.
If there seems to be a large problem with abuse then it's the NYPD that needs to do some checking.
However, to this point there's not a lot of evidence. From the way the article is phrased, it doesn't seem that the video that they're presenting is from this program. Nor do they cite any action from the information that has been received.
On the other hand, the most problematic areas for abuse would probably be the poorest areas. Might be a shortage of smartphones around there.