February 2, 2012 – Today, the law offices of Morrison and Foerster, LLP filed an Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) of the New York City Council to the Southern District Court of New York in support of the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in Floyd vs. The City of New York.
Every year, the members of the BLAC hear hundreds of complaints from furious constituents recounting the degrading, humiliating and suspicion-less stops that go on throughout New York City. We stand united to echo their fury and frustration.
Members of the BLAC regularly meet with constituents and have held hearings on this issue over the past several years. As testified by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) on April 30, 2009 during the City Council’s hearing on stop and frisk, complaints about the police tactic rose from 19% to 33% between 2002 and 2008. Thirty-three percent accounts for 2,400 complaints in one year, and still, we know that the concerns that we hear only account for those who speak up or report them. Many times, accounts of the stops and unjust treatment go unreported as the feeling of degradation breeds distrust and disharmony between residents and New York Police Department. It is that distrust that makes it increasingly difficult to engage members of our community who feel unjustly targeted, marginalized and powerless.
It is widely known that communities of color are overrepresented when it comes to Stop and Frisk policies. It is unsettling to know that stops with no just cause have become so common that teens and young people who live in our communities have grown to expect them to happen regularly. The bridge of trust between police, government and public citizen is increasingly difficult to cross, to the benefit of no one. Especially concerning is that the use of these tactics further reinforce racial stereotypes that destroy the social fabric of this diverse city. No citizen of our city, state or country should feel targeted while walking around the neighborhoods where they live and raise families.
It is with this in mind that the amicus curiae brief is filed on the BLAC’s behalf: to bring to light the pervasive and demoralizing effect that Stop-and-Frisk policies, and the practice of suspicion-less stops, have on our neighborhoods and on our city.
The Black, Latino and Asian Caucus represents over 4 million New Yorkers from each of our five boroughs, and is comprised of 27 of 51 City Council Members. We convene to ensure that issues of particular concern of the Black, Latino and Asian communities are addressed city-wide. Of the populations that the Caucus represents, 73% are Black and Latino. As such, it is in the interest of the communities that we serve to continue to be vigilant in our fight against Stop and Frisk policies that target our constituencies.
You can read the full brief below.