Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

New York City - a place imagined as a center of liberality - is a mega-human rights violator, where 8:30pm curfews are enforced to make minority neighborhoods into "ghost towns." In the Bedford-Stuyvesant section, police "are told to make arrests for incidents they have not seen and probably didn't happen, all to meet quotas and clear the streets."

 

New York City Beats Arizona Hands Down in Police Abuse of Citizens

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The NYPD is without a doubt the worst violator of human rights in the United States - by volume."

There is a growing crime wave on the streets of New York City, a public menace that has assaulted the bodies and minds of nearly 3 million residents in the last six years. The source of the crime wave is the NYPD, without a doubt the worst violator of human rights in the United States - by volume - and arguably the most racist police force of any major city.

The ringleader of this crime wave is multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the once-Republican now independent mayor of New York since 2001 and - in quantitative terms - the nation's worst human rights abuser. Every year since 2004, Mayor Bloomberg has demanded, and gotten, a bigger body count of detained New Yorkers: some 575,000 persons stopped-and frisked in 2009, nearly 90 percent of them Black and brown.

What civil libertarians fear will happen in Arizona under that state's new, anti-immigrant laws, has been happening every day to Black and Latino residents of New York. Men, women and children are routinely stopped and often arrested right in front of their homes and while sitting on their stoops. Many have been stopped tens or scores of times by cops working under harsh quotas and under orders to clear the streets of everyone by 8:30 at night - a de facto and illegal curfew on the Black and the poor - in, of all places, New York, the City That Never Sleeps.

The horror stories are finally reaching the general public because of recordings made secretly and delivered to the Village Voice newspaper by a disgruntled cop. The tapes, recorded in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn over a 17-month period, reveal a lawless police department in which patrol cops are instructed to arrest people first and make up charges against them, later. Cops are told to make arrests for incidents they have not seen and probably didn't happen, all to meet quotas and clear the streets. One particularly oppressive and profane supervisor summed it up for his men: "I want a ghost town.... The less people on the street, the easier our job will be."

"Cops are instructed to arrest people first and make up charges against them, later."

Another supervisor is heard saying, "They don't own the block. We own the block. They might live here, but we own the block. We own the streets, here."

Community members that complain about police abuse are vilified as "the bad guys."

The police department operates like a hate machine, grooming officers to hate residents and giving residents every reason to hate the police. One young man interviewed by the Village Voice said he has been stopped 14 times just since New Years Day.  "You can't stand on the sidewalk and talk or sit on someone's stoop," he says.

The sheer intensity and duration of the six-year police assault on poor, minority neighborhoods, in a city where gentrification is a public policy priority, is reason to suspect that Mayor Bloomberg's reign of terror is designed to drive out New York's unwanted classes. 

On tape, Bloomberg's cops rant and rave that they'd like to "blow up" buildings and make streets into "ghost towns." And then their boss can bring in a new population - and the cops can start acting like human beings, again.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.


Direct download: 20100526_gf_NYPD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EDT