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Claxton: Stop−and−frisk policy needs reforming

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Although the NYPD is taking measures to make its stop−and−frisk policies more transparent among New Yorkers, a Laurelton police critic said it is not enough to stop the unnecessary questioning of innocent minority civilians.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly sent a letter to City Council Speaker Christina Quinn (D−Manhattan) during a hearing at the Council’s Public Safety Committee last Thursday, which outlined the newest statistics for the department’s stop−and−frisk procedures and revealed new policies for city officers.

After the RAND Corp., a think tank, released a study that reviewed the NYPD’s stop and frisk cases, Kelly said officers would be given new memos that required to them to state the reason why that person was searched.

“The form was developed in response to a recommendation made by the RAND Corp., which suggested officers should explain to individuals who were stopped the reason or reasons why it occurred,” Kelly wrote in the letter.

In addition to the change in policy, three Manhattan precincts will be participating in a pilot program where officers will be handing out palm cards to stopped and frisked suspects informing them of their legal rights.

Marq Claxton, a former detective the co−founder of the police watchdog group 100 Blacks in Law enforcement who care, criticized Kelly’s actions because he said it did not stop police from harassing innocent people. Only 6 percent of people who were stopped and frisked in 2008 were arrested according to the NYPD.

“Neither he nor his hired consultants [at] the RAND Corp. understand the significant negative impact that ‘stop & frisks’ have had on police−community relations,” said Claxton in a statement.

Claxton, a Laurelton resident who is running for City Council, also noted that the NYPD has done nothing to curb the high number of stop and frisks among minorities.

Approximately 531,159 New Yorkers were stopped and frisked in 2008, which was 13.3 percent higher than the 468,932 stop and frisks performed in 2007, according to the NYPD. The number of black residents who were stopped and frisked last year was 271,602 compared to 242,373 in 2007, the NYPD said.

The former officer suggested that the NYPD officers issue cards to stop and frisk suspects that contain that officer’s information and their superior’s information.

“People who are stopped don’t need a general legal lesson on the justification for such stops, but rather they want a full explanation of why they were stopped,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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